Friday, July 30, 2010

Plastic Christianity

Malta is renowned for being a devout Christian country that is the beacon of moral values, which is fine by many people's standards. However, shrouded in the midst of this nation's values is an air of hypocrisy that is so vast and so explicit; a hypocrisy that even shames the majority of us from being called Catholics and practicing this religion. Mhux l-aqwa li nmorru l-quddies nhar il-Hadd, hux?

Here, I'm not speaking about the major topic of the day, i.e. the possible introduction of divorce legislation in Malta - that is something on which another blog could possibly be dedicated to and something that I have my own viewpoint on - but speaking about the public's attitude at large to other people. If Malta was the true beacon of Christianity and Catholicism, then I'm almost certain that we wouldn't be seeing Cikku and Peppu swearing at every corner in Valletta, or fights breaking out in the middle of Paceville almost every Friday. I'm not saying that we would be perfect either - no one is - but surely if those practicing people, the people who are allegedly holier than thou for the best part of 45 minutes on a Saturday evening or a Sunday morning, stuck to their apparent values during the week, when out, when at work - wherever - then we would be a lot better for it all.

Just because you play a game of football and you make a mistake, it doesn't mean that you have to go swearing in the direction of God and blame Him for your troubles. Just because something doesn't go right when you're doing a chore or have an errand to do, it doesn't mean that we have to curse until we feel better. Just because someone teases and bullies another person, it doesn't mean that such a person has to go on a subsequent rampage. If there's anything about this in particular worth highlighting, I would know - I've been down this route and for practically ten months now, I've managed to 'reform' my character accordingly. On a personal level, when compared to the past, I do not lose my temper as much as I used to and I do not descend into such vulgarities so easily, as was the case back then.

However, if you do something that allegedly offends our morals, as seen in today's online edition of the Times, where two youths decided to sunbathe in the middle of Valletta as part of a sketch designed to make the hits on YouTube, then we very ironically hit back at such people by reoffending our morals and swearing the hell at them. I don't care if these people were wrong and acting contrary to the law - although, quite frankly, I don't see anything offensive in sunbathing in the middle of Palace Square or in front of the Law Courts (if people do so on the beach, which is a public place, then what's the difference?) - that's not the point. Perhaps those institutions of our country need to be mocked, anyway. The point is that the people who passed by these youths, disgusted at them and swearing away just to prove their point, are probably people who are such alleged practicing Christians. Of course, being a Christian only counts for that amount of time on Saturday or Sunday, as I mentioned above. It doesn't count for the rest of the week. It doesn't count in every second that passes during the day. Or so we think.

This is not to mention that people in this country perhaps do need to get their act together and start thinking as if we're in 2010, soon to be 2011 - and not stuck in the 1950's, or, God forbid, the 1970's - taht il-gvern soppressiv ta' Mintoff. In addition to living the values that we Maltese allegedly promote, we also have to move with the times and realise that it is time to catch up with modern-day Europe, and stop acting like a third way country or a dictatorship. But it's easier said than done for this is Malta, after all.

God Bless You all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's One Thing When You're Here!

As many of you know, I'm back at EF this summer and am (finally) happily teaching Upper Intermediates. Although all my students are Spanish, something which generally poses a problem because such students often speak between themselves in their native tongue, the majority of those that I'm teaching are relatively well-versed in the language and therefore, conversing in English is relatively straightforward with them; this as opposed to last year, when I just had Elementary students - a downright 'mare for someone who struggles to write in simple English, let alone speak it.

Anyway, following last Monday's attempted intimidation/assault/call it what you wish by the hamalla from the depths of God knows where (I still insist, had that bitch or her son/boyfriend/brother/whatever ogre he might have been as much as laid a finger on me, I would have beaten them to a pulp), the last thing I perhaps wanted on a Tuesday morning is school at 8 a.m. Of course, my sleep had been massively disturbed due to this... incident. But yet, I had to live with this, for this is what happened. It's useless crying over spilt milk.

Anyway, all zombified, I walked into class that morning and all was fine. The first lesson actually went to plan and without any hitches. As is the norm with this group of students that I have, they were cooperative and willing to work, and actually seem to enjoy the lessons. Fantastic. However, two particular incidents straight after this lesson (which did not involve my students) - please note that my students' brains were meant to be fully functioning yet mine was still completely... asleep - then jolted me into action for the rest of the day. Perhaps, with hindsight, thank God they occurred!

The first was actually a bit absurd, but I believe that I was in the right. Some idiot was sitting on the porch that leads to the school building and had a tissue in hand. He was wearing a cap and looked like a rapper, with the only difference that he was caucasian - rappers, normally, are not. Anyway, our coolio friend decided that he didn't want to hold the tissue in his hand any longer and threw it into the road. I caught the fool red-handed. Being the dedicated corrector of people that I am employed to be, I decided to approach this student and told him that he had thrown the tissue onto the pavement. He vehemently disagreed with me, protesting his case in a not too dissimilar manner to a chihuahua. Seeing his non-compliance with my telling him that that he did, I ordered that he go and pick up the tissue. The student once again refused, and actually told me to tell him to 'say please' (yes, I quote). Say please? Bloody hell, I'm a teacher and he's a student; if I told him to pick up the wretched tissue because he actually threw it on the floor, then he sure is going to pick it up! Eventually, after I showed him that I wasn't going to budge and that I was boss here, he got off the porch, picked it up and threw it in the bin in a similar way to how Joris Mathijsen slammed a football into the ground after disapproving of a decision made by the referee in the World Cup Final last Sunday; this to the tune of me telling the student, "We do not litter our country!" Well, we do, but I can't accept these tourists doing so - they can do what they wish in Spain, but here, it's another thing altogether.

If the first incident perhaps merited attention and me remembering what happened, the second incident, which occurred straight after the break finished, was just plain farcical. Some student came to school - he must have been drunk - at half past 9, when in reality, his lesson was at half past 4 in the afternoon. It transpired that he thought that yesterday was Wednesday. Anyway, our friend found me and asked where his lesson was, and I kindly indicated that it's in the afternoon. Fine. He then asked if I was his teacher, even though his sheet said "Michelle Borg" on it and did not indicate my name. Yet again, I replied that I wasn't his teacher. The boy kept on insisting that I was his teacher, and I told him that Michelle is a girl's name. I then asked him whether I looked like a female or not to him - you know; shaved hair, growing stubble, deep voice... these characteristics should have all given it away. In truly idiotic fashion, this student replied in the affirmative and said that I WAS a female. (I hate using 'emoticons' in blogs, but this really merits a '-_-'... big time.) I was shocked that he did not know/notice the difference between a man and a woman. And please note, the reason why I was shocked was because his timetable indicated that he was an Intermediate student!! Someone, evidently, guessed his way through the placement test...

Oh well, any other crazy adventures from work will be posted here in due course! What a wacky world us teachers have to put up with...

God Bless You All!