The M&M snubgate

A video surfaced on Youtube showing German Chancellor Angela Merkel not including Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in a conversation. The discussion on social media quickly descended in the pits of partisan politics with one side laughing at what had happened to the Prime Minister and the other side saying they were offended by Merkel’s rudeness.

The video was uploaded to Daphne Caruana Galizia’s new Youtube channel called the Running Commentary so it can be deduced that the reason for the upload was to ridicule the Prime Minister. However, after seeing the clip many a times I still cannot find anything humiliating or even noteworthy about what happened.

Was the clip awkward? Yes definitely! Did it mean anything? I very much doubt it.

Who in the history of civilisation has never found themselves in such a situation? From the clip Merkel acknowledges Muscat and continues to show a piece of paper to someone else. Muscat senses he is not welcome within that particular conversation so he moves on. I have been in a couple of those situations myself and is the reason why I loathe networking.

Merkel did not blank the Prime Minister or even given him her back. She merely pointed out at the other person and mouthed something to the effect of ‘I want to speak to him’. There is nothing to take away from the clip, yet in the space of less than 24 hours this particular video has been viewed over 6,500 times.

Where is all this interest coming from? Why is such an insignificant clip given so much importance and why are so many people so quick to take a position on it? It might be easy to point a finger and laugh but I cannot understand why many took it upon themselves to condemn Merkel’s actions.

If there is anyone in the European political sphere who deserves our condemnation this week it’s UK Prime Minister David Cameron after a decision was taken saying Britain will no longer support migrant and refugee search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. Their excuse? That it would encourage more migrants to cross. This is shameful, appalling tactic by the British government who is trying to appease the UKIP vote.

This of course directly impacts Malta and our resources and surely it is way more important than Merkel wanting to speak to someone else other than our Prime Minister.

The top 5 things you can do with Konrad Mizzi’s €25

What the Government thought would be the perfect PR exercise to show people compassion after last week’s power cut quickly turned against them when Minister for Energy and Health Konrad Mizzi showed the rest of Malta how out of touch with the realities faced by the common people.

During a press conference where Minister Mizzi announced the compensation given to individual households after the blackout, Mizzi said that a week’s worth of groceries would cost €25, so that is the perfect amount to pass along.

Now I don’t know where he shops but when going to the supermarket I have to actually pay for things with this weird thing we common people call money.

Now apparently there is this thing called Konrad €25 Mizzi money which if you’re one of the lucky 8,000 you will get through the post. This note looks something like this:

Konrad Mizzi €25This note seems to have hidden value. It might have €25 euros on the front but can be redeemed for much more. Yes you guessed it, a whole week’s worth of groceries. Or else, if you want to treat yourself we count down the top 5 things than you can do with this special currency.

Number 5
For the sensible people amongst you, you can use this money towards your next ARMS bill, that’s three months worth of free electricity.

Number 4
Why not go for a bottle of Champagne, say a Bollinger GD Anne Rose 75cl, 2002. This will also leave you with a bit of change if you want to feel patriotic and want to follow it with a few cans of Cisk.

Number 3
If you really want to treat yourself why not go for a one night stay at one of the fabulous 5 star hotels we have in Malta. I hear Gozo in October is simply magical.

Number 2
But your loved one that special piece of jewellery, after all, who did you turn to when Malta descended into darkness and you had no fan or AC to cool you down?

Number 1
Finally, if you’re feeling extra generous you can share this with 5 of your friends and treat everyone to a special meal at your favourite Chinese restaurant.

Just in case you were wondering, this is what €25 of real money gets you in the real world.

  • 1 Benna full fat milk – €0.83c
  • 1 Benna flavoured milk chocolate – €0.62c
  • 4 yoghurts – €2.00
  • Flora proactive 250g – €3.25
  • 200g Sliced ham – €1.75
  • 200g mortadella – €1.50
  • 175g Cheddar- €2.60
  • 6 pieces fresh gbejniet – €4.70
  • 500g of bigilla – €2.20
  • 250g stuffed olives – €3.25
  • 6 eggs – €1.45

This is just the basic food every family have in their fridge. I am not counting any vegetables, meat or fish or even anything that one might have had in the freezer. On another note, if you would like to read my thoughts on last week’s blackout you can read my piece on The Times of Malta by clicking here.

And just in case you’re thinking “but Konrad Mizzi did not mention groceries…” The truth is that he did, and here is the proof.


When I grow up I want to be Sai Mizzi

sai mizzi

Who wouldn’t want to be Sai Mizzi when they grow up, it’s probably one of the best jobs out there.

Having Energy and Health Minister Konrad Mizzi as a hubby wouldn’t be so bad. He’s reasonably good-looking for a politician and seems to be quite intelligent too (now that’s a combo which is hard to come by). We also both worked for Enemalta at some point so we could have a few stories to share over a nice bottle of Pinot Noir. Actually scratch that, it’s summer, let’s go for a chilled Chablis.

Then there are all the other benefits! Even though I am the Minister’s wife the government will have no qualms about directly appointing me as a special envoy to China, without a call for application too. Oh and the wage that goes with that is apparently the same as an ambassador’s.

I’d still won’t be 100% sure about what my job would entail – I’m guessing turning up to a few meetings and maybe getting a Chinese company to set up a free trade zone in Malta would do – but I do have enough information about the wage and benefits that I will get.

Let me list them here*;

So my taxable salary would be around €33,000 while my non taxable salary would be around €40,000. I’ll have a nice settling-in allowance and a Rep allowance of around €6,000. A child allowance and educational allowance of around €20,000. Then there would be free medical care, dental care, an outfit allowance (say what?), fixed telephone service, mobile phone expenses will be fully paid too. And let’s not forget a fully paid residence, use of an official car plus fuel and of course business class flights y’all. Ka-ching on my Emirates miles! 

All in all that would rank up around €160,000 a year. Sounds like a good deal to me. Well so are the perks of being the Minister’s wife.

Of course when I’m asked a legitimate question by the largest newspaper in Malta I’ll just lie to their faces and tell them that anyone who believes I have more than €3,000 a month must be suffering from a lower than average IQ. After all that’s how we handle media in the country I’m an envoy for. 

Yes, life as Sai Mizzi is definitely something to aspire to!

*Sai Mizzi’s contract is available on the Times of Malta

Vodafone reveals shocking mass tapping by Government of Malta

I read with incredulity an article on The Guardian which said that Malta is one of the most spied on countries in Europe according to recent data made public by Vodafone.

If you were worried about what the word privacy meant as a consequence of Snowden’s leak then this will have you ditch your mobile phone line and start using otter applications on your smart phone which let you make calls over VoiP.

What is most worrying is that Malta is one of the states (together with Albania, Egypt, Hungary, India, Qatar, Romania, South Africa and Turkey) who said that it would be unlawful to disclose any kind of information regarding the content which was intercepted or wiretapped over the mobile network.

According to data by the Malta Communications Authority, by the beginning of 2013, Vodafone had a market share of 50.38%. During the same year the total number of mobile subscribers stood at 539,452, meaning that Vodafone’s subscriber base is around 271,776.

Of these 3,773 were wiretapped or intercepted in 2013, or to put it in simpler terms 1.4% – which leads itself to the question – do we have so many criminals in Malta or is there something else going on?

Vodafone malta spying

Per percentage of the population Malta was only surpassed by Italy in the these numbers, however, since the Mafia in Italy need a lot of policing this is understandable. But whereas all this information is disclosed by the Italian Government in Parliament, in Malta, the Government said it was unlawful to disclose information of how and what kind of content was intercepted.

This data is only available for half of the population of Malta and we still have no idea what kind of information Go and Melita provide to the government. The way this information is being provided to the Government is cause for concern but what is most worrying is the lack of transparency of how this is being done.

The Government has a lot to answer for one question is pertinent – Why is at least 1.4% of half the population of Malta being spied on?

A step closer to a more liberal Malta – Civil Unions Bill approved

marriage equality + civil union

It is with great pleasure that I read about the passing of the Civil Union Bill. Finally Malta is a step closer to being a more liberal and awesome country. A big congratulations goes to the Labour Party for sticking and delivering this promise.

I know I am not known to be vocal supporter about certain decisions the current Government takes but this is definitely one that should be saluted. This is a celebration of love and the LGBT community deserves this win.

I must admit that I’m quite disappointed to see the PN taking this kind of stance towards the bill. A free vote would have shown the PN as being the fresh, new party they were saying they wanted to be. Abstaining is not only a bad PR move considering circumstances but also brings back bad memories of the divorce issue. With a free vote the party would have shown its a mixed one of liberals and more conservative members, something the rest of the country understands. Bringing in the issue on adoption as an excuse frankly doesn’t hold water as gay adoption is already possible through single parent adoption. The PN would have really shown itself as being a renewed party and this was a missed chance.

So once again congratulations to the Government of Malta for passing this bill.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was quite right when he tweeted the following:


The 7 best moments of the Cabinet Reshuffle on Twitter

After all is said and done and the dust has settled on the recent Cabinet Reshuffle it’s interesting to look back at the best moment that played out live on Twitter. Click here if you want to read about all latest changes in the cabinet.

As a social media harlot I am ecstatic to see Twitter being used by Malta’s journalists and politicians to break the latest news. The rest of the local community of course joined in the reshuffle fun and the best seven moments have been reproduced hereunder.

Number 7

Filthy cars arriving at Girgenti.

Number 6

Andrew Borg Cardona calls it! One hour before it is made official.

Number 5

Miriam Dalli, journalist at MaltaToday once again tries her luck and complains about being hungry.

She then posts a picture of the advent of food.

And also manages to get food for the rest of the media hanging outside Girgenti

Number 4

Owen Bonnici is probably the best there is to take Culture a step forward in Malta it has to be said that yet again Culture hasn’t been given its due importance – or respect for that matter – as it’s now been relegated under Justice.

Number 3

Matthew Vella contemplating on the family affair.

Number 2

Franco Mercieca announces his definitive resignation with a tweet that screams relief.

Number 1

Satiristan comes back from retirement and takes the Number 1 spot.

And finally the Prime Minister’s Twitter account posted the following photo with the caption:
A chat with my good friend Godfrey Farrugia,thanking him for his contribution. Sure he has still more to offer. 

Cabinet reshuffle

Don’t yet have a Twitter account? Sign up now and use the follow buttons above to follow some of the best locals on the social network. And don’t forget to follow yours truly on @melahart.

An End-of-Year Special: The 9 unsung Maltese heroes of 2013

Keeping with tradition, the last day of 2013 is all about recounting the year gone by. The major newspapers all came out with their most read stories and their reviews but I feel like something is missing. No media outlet is singing the praises of the 2013 Maltese heroes. Those people who in the past year have motivated us, made us smile, helped us get through those boring days at work, made us proud to be Maltese and those who put Malta on the map. So here, with the help of Neil, owner of the blog we make a list of these people who we think deserve to be mentioned one last time before the year’s end.

Yanagi Yukinori - The world Flag Ant Farm

Yanagi Yukinori – The World Flag Ant Farm

The Malta Potatoes Dude
I have already sang many praises for the Malta Potatoes Dude but I thought he deserves another mention. He warmed the hearts of many of us who watched this clip on YouTube and through his words felt the warmth of the Maltese sun in our hearts.

Pole dude
Or to be more correct, Mr Daniel Caruana photographed by the insanely talented Darrin Zammit Lupi, whose photo has made the world rounds and has been featured in every photographic blog on the face of this earth.

Toni Sant
For every Muzika Mod Ieħor podcast. Thank you for taking the time to beautifully craft every single one of them and showcase Malta’s local musical talent (even it was only germinated locally).

Alex Vella Gera
The author of one of the most talked about books in the past few years, Is-Sriep Reġgħu Saru Velenużi, nowadays he is probably most known for turning down a national honor. He is basically the one who said a big FU to the political system in Malta when he wrote “I cannot accept an honour from the Maltese political class which, apart from some exception, has been causing so much damage to my country“. In an interview with Raphael Vassallo, one of the best, most interesting interviews of the year on MaltaToday, he explains his reasoning.

Michael Spagnol
Creator of the Facebook page Kelma Kelma, for making us fall back in love with the Maltese language and at the same time offering some fun education.

The Maltese bus driver
Narrow roads and disrespectful drivers, the Maltese bus drivers have one tough job and I don’t think we sing their praises enough. A lot is said about Arriva but only little is said about the drivers and the improved service they give.  Yes there are exceptions but driving around Malta I have been pleasantly surprised by their courteousness.

Every single person who signed the anti spring hunting referendum petition
Yes you all deserve a mention. You are awesome!

The guys at Merlin Publishers
We know we are not a nation of readers. Just look at the appalling results in the EU Cultural Access and Participation (opens up a PDF). But for some time the guys over at Merlin Publishers have been working relentlessly to produce books by Maltese authors which actually sell. So much thought is poured into every book and thanks to them Maltese authored books are being talked about and read. Everything from the amazing covers to their marketing strategies is creating this buzz for local wordsmiths which is very much welcome. Claire Azzopardi’s Frejp, Carmel Scicluna’s Ossessjoni and of course Ġużè Stagno’s explosive new book What Happens in Brussels Stays in Brussels just to name a few of their amazing books.

The Maltese passport
Maybe not a real person but the Maltese passport has definitely put Malta on the map. But not just that, our passport proved one very important thing: discussions in parliament are actually useless. The Maltese Government decided to go back to the drawing board only after the negative backlash on international media and not when the Opposition put forward arguments about the International Investment Program.

Did we miss anyone in particular? Let us know in the comments section below. Happy New Year!


We should really thank Magistrate Carol Peralta.

Magistrate Carol Peralta managed to unite all of us regardless of political party colour. What better gift could have been given to the people of Malta this Christmas?

This Christmas Carol (pun intended, even though it’s been countless times) started yesterday evening when The Times reported one of its journalists was arrested. The journalist, Ivan Martin, was sent to court to report on an eyewitness account of a party being held in court.

carol peralta 1

When Mr Martin arrived he noticed that Magistrate Carol Peralta was entertaining people in a court room. Alcohol was present and so were cigarettes – please keep in mind this is in a court room. Ivan Martin tried to take a picture of what was happening and it was then that Magistrate Carol Peralta asked for him to be arrested.

Ivan Martin was held for three hours at the police station but was later released.

The story spread like wildfire on Facebook (and so did the memes) and for the first time in eons most of the commentators seemed to be in agreement. What Magistrate Carol Peralta did was a blatant abuse of power.

carol peralta

All three political parties were in agreement and the Government condemned such abusive behavior.

This is not the first time Magistrate Carol Peralta was in the middle of controversy. Just last year he conditionally discharged a person after trying to run over someone and he is also allegedly linked with the freemasons.

The Magistrate has now said that he would be happy to resign if he’s found to have acted abusively. Fair enough, however, since this whole thing has gone down, it’s the judicial system in Malta which has really been hurt. So much for the dignity of the law courts and the judiciary. The law courts are one of the highest institutions in the country. It is not a place for Christmas parties – even if everybody else is doing it – and it’s definitely not the place where one should throw his weight about.

So what are your thoughts? Should Magistrate Carol Peralta resign? Let me know in the comments section below.

After Norman Vella, what else is round the corner?

Normangate or even better, the series of events which led to Norman Vella being questioned by the police and having his mobile phone and tablet confiscated has raised more than a few eyebrows. But let’s be honest, this is just one other event in a long string of events which has had people talking.

norman vella
From memory, and I promise I didn’t go searching on Google, I can remember a few occasions which were handled far from delicately by the government;

  1. The suspension of a Gozo Ferry employee to cover up what looked like an abuse of power by the Minister for Gozo, Anton Refalo,
  2. The threatening of a security worker working during the Isle of MTV party by Home Affairs Ministry Chief of Staff, Silvio Scerri whose female companion was denied entry to a VIP area,
  3. The stipends debacle, which led to the resignation of the Chairman of the Students Maintenance Grants Board,
  4. The complete shrugging off when it was discovered that Shiv Nair, a consultant for the Prime Minister, is forever blacklisted by the World Bank,
  5. The case of a civillian’s wrong arrest and the witch hunt against Police Inspector Elton Taliana who was the officer who actually arrested the RIGHT culprit.

These are just a few events which sprung to memory. Weirdly enough, as I’m writing this I find myself thinking that all these have some sort of loose end. It seems like many stories, even when they consist of scandals, simply die out. I don’t know if this is because the media is not properly doing its job or if it’s because so many things are happening that the media cannot keep up. Or maybe it’s just a mix of the two.

For whatever reason though the Norman Vella case seems to have stuck and we all got a conclusion. Again, this case verges on the scandalous. If the Police were asked to investigate a person simply because of who he is and because he happened to cross paths with Ramona Attard (communications coordinator at the Ministry of Home Affairs) and Kurt Farrugia (communications coordinator at the Office of the Prime Minister) this is, for lack of better word, disgusting.

This is not just a waste of Police (and Court’s) time and citizen’s tax money but it is also a blatant abuse of power. If this is the kind of things you get away with by having a 9 seat majority in parliament, I’m worried what else might be around the corner.

Yes the Labour Party do have an astounding seat majority but that doesn’t mean they should show disrespect to the people who put them in power. Unfortunately all these shenanigans are doing just that, and they are a slap in the face to all those who voted Labour because the Partit Nazzjonalista was dubbed arrogant.

But that is not all, worst of it all is that there are certain Labour MPs which are trying to ridicule this whole thing. I am talking about MP Luciano Busuttil who took to Facebook to express his opinion saying;

Luciano Busuttil on Norman Vella on Facebook

There are so many people who like to make a scene and play the victim

Hon Busuttil should realise he is now part of the Government and not campaigning as we are in the run up to election. Those kind of messages are simply not on, especially when you are representing the Government of Malta.

The good, the bad, and the ugly – Nicholas Azzopardi, JPO and Franco Debono in the Serkin Brawl

Let me start by saying that all parties in this story are bad. Regardless of who provoked who, getting into a fist fight because of your partisan beliefs is idiotic. It is even more idiotic to get into such brawls if you hold a certain position of respect be it a Chairmanship or a Commissioner of Law (another dent in the Malta Taghna lkoll slogan).

Truth is, no one will ever really know what actually happened in Rabat at 5 am on Sunday 4th of August 2013. Why? Because we will get two different versions from both sides and the truth will be somewhere in middle. Having said that there are still a few conclusions to be made – the good, the bad, and the ugly, that is.

The good, the bad and the ugly

The Good. 
Without any shadow of a doubt The Good here is Serkin’s pastizzi. I mean, honestly, those pastizzi ARE the best you’ll ever find on the island, the guy is open almost around the clock and the service is always delivered with a smile. What more could you ask for?

The Bad. 
Even though the truth will never come to surface The Bad ones here are JPO and Franco Debono. Even if JPO was provoked he should know better not to get into these kind of situations. And what to say for Franco Debono? Well he too should be steering clear of any trouble, especially the partisan kind. In a few versions of the story, Franco Debono is said to “intervene”. Why on earth would he do that? He might be the Law Commissioner but he is not the Police. JPO posted a message on this Facebook wall titled “PROVOKAZZJONI SFACCATA U MOQZIEZA” (a blatant and disgraceful provocation) a a few hours after the incident saying “It is obvious that his intention was to provoke a serious incident.” So if this was obvious why didn’t you just take your pastizzi take-away and leave the scene?

The Ugly.
Waking up on Sunday to the news that politicians were involved in partisan brawls is ugly. Whoever mouthed the first provocation and whoever threw the first punch it is shameful that there are fights of petty political nature. What is more shameful is ganging up on someone because of his beliefs. Instead of having politicians (hey these are after all there to serve the people) calm the situation down and calling the Police, they themselves get involved and then act as the victims. I’m with J’accuse on this one, it really is a Banana Republic.