Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Major Downfall in our Lives

This is STILL not the topic that I wanted to blog about; indeed, I believe that I will be blogging about that topic come July, after my trip to Strasbourg and Brussels. Or I'll just continue procrastinating in that regard until I really do feel like sitting down and writing a lengthy essay/argumentation on that topic in particular. Rest assured though readers, whoever you may be, I haven't forgotten what I want to write about.

Today's blog, however, takes me to something that I believe is quite important, yet there mightn't be too much to talk about. It's about the notion of peer pressure. It's a notion that, in my opinion, kills others. It's a notion that stinks. And yet, it's a notion that many a time, we subscribe to because we're either not mentally strong enough to resist it and/or so that we prove that we can be like other people as well. Of course, not everything amounts to peer pressure - far from it - but one might be surprised at how many times we do come across this in our lives.

One clear example that affected me personally was the ticket sale for the upcoming Ministry of Sound Festival, for which quite a few of my friends were selling tickets. Apart from the fact that I'm off abroad tomorrow and hence wouldn't have been able to make it anyway, I stated, from the offset, that I didn't want to go to it. As many people know, I'm not a party animal in the least - whether that's to my detriment or advantage, I'm yet to find out - and so when things like this crop up, I either very very rarely go along to such parties or just skip out on them altogether. I simply do not enjoy them, there is no other explanation for it.

As I mentioned, some of my friends were selling such tickets. Indeed, their marketing ploys were quite ingenious, if I say so myself, and I don't blame them - after all, they're probably earning commission on these tickets, and the more they sell, the more people come and the more commission they get. So initially, I was asked whether I intended to attend tonight's festival, to which I gave a prompt 'no' as a reply. Once. Twice. Thrice. Four times. By the fourth time, it was evident enough that I was trying to be forced into attending this party - reasons used to try and convince me were that there were going to be many of my friends there and that the party would be attended by eight international DJs. All fine and dandy, but I stuck to my guns and continued to refuse to purchase a ticket, citing it to be a waste of money for myself. Of course, even that statement was used against me, as I was told that I was generalising by saying that like that, everyone was wasting their money when it wasn't the case, and that it was "my loss" if I didn't attend. I was even offered a complimentary ticket and I also turned it down. To put it in a short sentence, I rejected everyone's offers and ploys. And as a consequence, I didn't succumb to peer pressure.

Another such example of peer pressure stems from something so common to many of us as well - attending Y4J or Community. It's no secret that every move that we make and every action that we do is scrutinised much more than that of the ordinary reasonable man in the street, as we are meant to be the people giving out positive messages and examples to society. Indeed, it comes as no surprise to me that teenagers who are just starting to go out to Paceville on Friday evenings are either pressured into drinking excessively with their friends in order to not feel left out of the crowd or in order to match such friends' exploits, for instance. However, this doesn't mean that one shouldn't go out, have a couple of drinks and not enjoy himself or herself. On the contrary, pleasure is an important aspect of people's lives - the most important thing though is that people know their limitations and don't succumb to doing anything stupid. On the other hand, it also comes as no surprise to me when such friends try to convince you to do otherwise with your life; more often that not leading these people down the wrong paths. It's part of a vicious life cycle; it happens; it is present among us. In my opinion, we have to be mentally strong to reject these overtures that other people offer us, because while they might initially look fantastic to the eye; in reality, it's far from the case.

I'm in no way condemning anything or anyone here, but the message behind this is that if you don't want to go to something, no matter how much people believe otherwise and try and convince you to the contrary, then follow what your head and heart say, and not what other people's heads and hearts believe. Sometimes it actually takes a hard-headed individual to stand up for his or her own beliefs in life and not succumb to peer pressure and, indeed, perhaps I am such a hard-headed individual. However, if through my head-headedness I can give an example of how to lead a better life, then so be it; perhaps God is using one of my generally negative tools for good to be done!

God Bless You all!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Electric Shock

Well, I was going to write a blog about something else today, or sometime in the future, as my next blog, but I think I'll put that on hold as I don't really feel like thinking at the moment and I also don't exactly have the time to do so. So I think I'll talk electricals instead.

Yesterday was a bit of a pants day to say the least as the uber-competent staff at Enemalta ensured that there was not just one fault, but two major faults that occurred within the same day, hence rendering the island completely devoid of electricity, unless one was the owner of a generator (which would have definitely come in useful). I'm generally not one to complain about Malta, unless it comes to the pitiful state of our roads, but I felt that yesterday was a bit way over the top. Thank goodness I was driving around with the Air Conditioning on 90% of the time, as otherwise I would have boiled myself to death.

Blackouts do occur from time to time but you do expect workers to be able to fix any potential faults within the next hour, and not take a total of four or five hours per fault to restore electricity to the island, as like what happened yesterday. At my house, for instance, the lights didn't come on before midnight, which is downright shameful. The overall result of this is that there is a loss of commerce, a loss of patience and plenty more hot-heads than we already have roaming the island.

Yesterday's events and their subsequent consequences got me thinking that it's high time that Enemalta were rid of the monopoly that they have over the water and electricity supply on the island(s) and some competition was introduced. First and foremost, we would be seeing the end of the sky high bills that come once bimonthly, as prices would be reduced drastically due to the fact that Enemalta would be competing against another company, or other companies. Secondly, this would also ensure that the arrogance within the corporation itself - starting from their Chairman, Ing. Alexander Tranter - is eliminated. During a recent speech, for instance, Ing. Tranter claimed at how dedicated Enemalta are to giving the best service to all Maltese by focusing on various projects; something which, if you had to ask me, is a bunch of bull because seeing that they're the only provider on the island, they can continue doing that that they are currently doing, i.e. charging exorbitant rates for an inadequate (and that's putting it mildly!) service. Thirdly, this would also provide the Maltese with another electricity grid to fall back upon if such another power fault crops up. Such a power company does not have to be based in Malta; indeed, it can be based in Sicily and be linked to Malta via an underwater cable. The only snag is that Enemalta are also embarking on this project to connect the islands to the European grid.

Oh well, how you wish things could sometimes change.

God Bless You all!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer, Summer and more of Summer

It's good to be free! And might I add, with nothing to do and, furthermore, nothing to write, this blog will once again depart my normal writing style...

Summer officially commenced the best part of 46.5 hours ago, at the time of writing, and although my first day off was weird to say the least, mainly because I came home to sleep after Criminal Law and I was just drained from all the studying! As I initially couldn't grasp what to do with, well, nothing to do, things have now started falling into place slowly slowly and the routine of having full days without studying is sinking in.

Surprisingly, I haven't been waking up half as late as I expected to be up. In all fairness, I found it easier to procrastinate in bed and get back to sleep when I needed to study as opposed to doing that now - no matter how early or how late I'm sleeping! The mind boggles, I guess...

I'm a tad disappointed because I got my official start date for work yesterday afternoon, and I end up by starting on July 14! That's a month from now... oh well, blame it on the credit crunch, I guess. This is what happens when you need cash so much because, well, you're so devoid of it... dramatic irony to say the least!

Yesterday was fantastic :) Got myself out of the messy, rugged look that I had with a three-week old beard and hair that hadn't been cut for two months, so now I'm once again a skin head and clean shaven. You could say that I look like a normal potato as opposed to a hairy potato now :) Then went to Lanf for a while because Lanf is Lanf and it's always worth going to his place :) and then headed off to Ghadira in the afternoon for some fun in the sun with friends! Needless to say; actually, as is always the case, I had to encounter some kind of adventure while on the road and yesterday was no exception - traffic in Salina at the weirdest of times, 10 past 2 in the afternoon, as well as me allegedly nearly crashing into Drea's mother. I'll say this for the 5th or 6th time now, when you're turning a roundabout - and I was when Drea's mother was driving up to it - then it the car who is turning the roundabout who has the right of way! The drive home from Ghadira was also a class act ;) And everyone seems to agree with me on this apart from Drea :p And insomma, then Nicola's 18th in the evening was superb, thanks Nic :)

Before I go, a shout out to Becky from here as she's either just off or about to jet off to Cambridge as I type :) Enjoy it and make the most of it Bec!

I now know what I will be writing about in my next blog; a more serious topic naturally, but I will not reveal until I start writing!

God Bless You all!

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Lack of Reflection

Well, it's been practically a whole week since my last blog, which generated quite a debate to say the least; a debate that I was very pleased about. In the meantime, a whole host of students have finished their exams and are already enjoying the fruits of not doing anything academically-related for a while as their summer has started, and that also means that my entertainment during these dragging times, such as Lanfranco's vlogs, will probably be no more as of the latest installment today... Anyway, as of the time of writing, 5 days, 12 hours and 35 minutes are left until I too can start to enjoy my freedom!

Tomorrow is the day where, according to estimates, around 62% of eligible voters will head to the polls for the second time in 15 months, this time to determine who will be representing Malta in the European Parliament. And while today we're meant to be "reflecting" on how the electoral campaigns have developed and who should be getting our votes, I'm still blogging about it because I don't abide by the rules. Oh, and by the way, some of us - myself included - have Local Council Elections to contend with as well, but I'm not very bothered about those because Councils do jack. When the Council magazine pops into my mailbox once every two months and I open it up to see what projects the Council has undertaken in this period of time, I practically want to start crying when, for instance, they say that they created a "traffic management" scheme in Triq Salvu Bonanno by literally painting a white oval line in the middle of a massively asphalted area. Pathetic.

So, back to my point. Tomorrow, we will be voting for five candidates who we believe are ideal to represent us in the European Parliament for the next 5 years. Or, alternatively, for any amount of time as they may wish, provided an opportunity to become Leader of one of Malta's main political parties arises due to death or simply the incapability of those running the show at either end of the political spectrum at the moment in time. I'm not one to normally show political apathy, but in this case, I can't help but do so. The Nationalist Party know that they're heading for a heavy defeat at tomorrow's polls, and the Labour Party know that they're heading for a landslide victory, just as they did in 2004.

And quite frankly, I couldn't care less. All we've heard - generally - is that these candidates, be it from whatever political tendencies that they might have, are definitely the best to represent us in Europe because of a plethora of reasons, some of which don't even have anything to do with the European Union. My opinion is that all these candidates are going to be there to represent the best interests of their pockets come the full implementation of the Lisbon Treaty, which will see the five (six) elected representatives pocket a cool €400,000 a year, excluding all the perks, expenses, accommodation etc. That works out to a salary of €8,333.33 a week; you could be mistaken that these people would be playing football for a professional club with such wages. So yes, we're essentially voting, first and foremost, for these people to pick up a big pay cheque.

I don't really see the European Parliament as an institution that works. Fine, its power will be increasing with the ratification of Lisbon, but what has really affected Malta via the European Parliament since our entry into the EU? Simon Busuttil might have presented an incredibly important report on irregular immigration, but Frontex has hardly helped solved our problems. On the contrary, they seemed to increase. Italy, on the other hand, seem to have really got the message across by sending boatloads of immigrants back to source, because unless I'm living in dreamland, I haven't really heard of any incidents involving the arrival of such immigrants since the last boat that was sent back to Africa. Further to that, the only important piece of news is that Busuttil was the most active MEP, and David Casa attended most plenary sessions. Otherwise though, there's practically no news regarding Malta that comes out of the European Parliament, whose function, it seems, is just to give their assent to newly-promulgated European Law and approve the European budget.

To conclude, as I don't want this blog to be too long, I'll just say that I will nonetheless be voting tomorrow despite these factors that I've mentioned, added to the fact that these people are going to be elected nonetheless even if I don't vote, so I might as well have my say as long as democracy permits me to do so. Furthermore, despite how arrogant the Government has become and how lacklustre the last 15 months have been for Malta overall, I will still be voting for the Nationalist candidates based on their European track record over the last 5 years, and nothing more than that. It's been difficult for me to consider European issues over national ones, but that's exactly what has to be done in such a circumstance. While the EP is a bit of a big joke, at least the PN seem to treat less as such as opposed to the PL. And I'm not even going into the merits of whether they are still anti-EU or not, I think that now this is a consideration that should be dropped once and for all, albeit still valid in a sense. Anyway, as long as idiots like Glenn Bedingfield don't get elected once again...

God Bless You all!