Sausage fest at The Economist event in Malta


Recently, it seems that everywhere I look I’m bombarded by adverts for a ‘Roundtable meeting with the Government of Malta‘ organized by The Economist. It is being held in a week’s time at the Hilton, and looks like it will tackle a few interesting topics and it’s great to see such engagement from the present Government.

Going through the list of speakers however I was struck by one glaring thing. Out of the 56 confirmed speakers, only 1 is a woman. Worse yet, there is no female Maltese speaker at this event as the only female speaker is Anna Diamantopoulou, a former European Commissioner from Greece.

Is this just an unfortunate coincidence or is it possible that even though we’re in the 21st century, locally we still have this idea that women and business shouldn’t mix?

What I am really worried about is the kind of message this sends. A Roundtable meeting with the Government of Malta discussing Invigorating Investment and Growth and the female representation is just a token and almost nonexistent. Just for a visual representation, this is how the whole speaker list looks like.

Male/Female represenation at The Economist even in Malta

Many might think I’m making an issue when there shouldn’t be one, but think about it – what does it say about us as a country, when a high profile event such as this one is completely devoid of a local female speaker?

The concept of token females on the boards of government entities disturbs me and I was never a fan of positive discrimination. Back in 2012, when Vivienne Reading set aggressive targets for women on boards of public companies I cringed. To me, this was somehow saying that women are not recognized as competent decision makers and cannot make on their own merits and legislation is needed to make this happen.

Seeing the above example I feel like I was wrong in my line of thought. There needs to be a system which ensures that capable women are given a fair chance to attain decision making positions because many of us are still predisposed to a more patriarchal system and appointing women to boards still feels like it’s not the natural thing to do or that it should be a mere token representation.

On a more positive note, the European Commission today released a press release about the Gender Pay Gap in the EU. Malta holds the second place of lowest pay gap, just after Slovenia at 6.1%. Even though the number should be 0% this is something we should be proud of as a country.

Best way to watch Eurovision 2013?

The answer is… on Twitter! This has become a little bit of a tradition. Every year a few of us meet up on Twitter and tweet while watching the Eurovision. So for tonight, it’s all set! I have my pizza, TVM HD is already on, waiting for the clock to strike 21:00 and then it all starts!

I’m still not a big fan of the budget portion allocated to the Eurovision, but the truth is, I’ve come to enjoy this little tradition.

You can follow my Tweets and other Twitter interactions here.

Twitter stream on Eurovision 2013 semi final

Just in case you were wondering about the running order for the second semi-final, here it is;

Latvia: PeR – Here We Go

San Marino: Valentina Monetta – Crisalide (Vola)

F.Y.R. Macedonia: Esma & Lozano – Pred Da Se Razdeni

Azerbaijan: Farid Mammadov – Hold Me

Finland: Krista Siegfrids – Marry Me

Malta: Gianluca – Tomorrow

Bulgaria: Elitsa Todorova and Stoyan Yankulov – Samo Shampioni (Only Champions)

Iceland: Eythor Ingi – Ég Á Líf

Greece: Koza Mostra feat. Agathon Iakovidis – Alcohol Is Free

Israel: Moran Mazor – Rak Bishvilo

Armenia: Dorians – Lonely Planet

Hungary: ByeAlex – Kedvesem (Zoohacker Remix)

Norway: Margaret Berger – I Feed You My Love

Albania: Adrian Lulgjuraj & Bledar Sejko – Identitet

Georgia: Nodi Tatishvili & Sophie Gelovani – Waterfall

Switzerland: Takasa – You And Me

Romania: Cezar – It’s My Life

Eurovision 2013 logo

I want to care about Mintoff but…

Image via

At long last someone has come to my rescue and penned some of the feelings I have been having about Dom Mintoff. Feelings I have been unfortunately hiding because I thought they were somehow wrong. I was feeling ashamed when I woke up this morning, read about Mintoff passing away and felt nothing. How can that be, he was such a monumental character in the history of Malta, how can I NOT care?

And finally I found solace in a blog which shared a written account of why it’s OK to have these feeling; an article written by Philip Leone-Ganado entitled “Why I don’t care about Dom Mintoff and neither should you (unless you’re over 25)

I’ll be cheating here, I am in fact 28 but I will be counting myself with that age group. Below is the excerpt in question, and if you would like to read the account first hand, then please click here.

I don’t care about Dom Mintoff and neither should you.

You shouldn’t care because you weren’t alive in the 70s and 80s, and by the time you were old enough to form a genuine opinion about politics, Dom Mintoff was 90 years old, and largely senile.

You shouldn’t care because apart from a vote of confidence when you were 8 or 9 years old, Dom Mintoff is history. Why have an opinion on Dom Mintoff when you don’t have one on Philip II of Spain? At least with Philip, you know what happened.

You shouldn’t care because you didn’t get to read a single reliable history book or article or watch a single reliable documentary to help you understand who Dom Mintoff was or what Dom Mintoff did. Instead, you had to learn everything you know about Dom Mintoff through hearsay, anecdote, and rumour.

You shouldn’t care because you can’t form a reliable opinion by some perverse averaging process – reading things about Dom Mintoff heavily skewed in both directions and finding the mean – you can’t. You can only regurgitate an opinion handed to you by one of Dom Mintoff’s friends, Dom Mintoff’s enemies, or people who benefited or suffered as a result of either.

You shouldn’t care because they want you to care. They want to make their problems your problems, to distract you from the fact that you have problems of your own.

You shouldn’t care because Dom Mintoff can’t change the state of your job prospects (limited), the security of your pension (afflicted), your civil liberties (threatened), your cultural legacy (assaulted), your environmental heritage (blasted). Dom Mintoff is your parents, these things are you.

You shouldn’t care because while the newspapers run pre-prepared praises and damnations of DomMintoff, your friends in Israel are planning an immediate attack on your friends in Iran. While they tweet #perit, your friends in Syria are dying in Aleppo, and your friends in the UK and Ecuador are planning measures that may rewrite laws of diplomacy, freedom of information, big things that matter. While they use their blogs to fight over a man who never touched the world beyond this happy half-a-million,you are connected to a world beyond parochialism and mediocrity.

You shouldn’t care because these are beautiful, terrible times, and they’re going to pass us by if we’re busy arguing about whose parents suffered more.

You shouldn’t care because Dom Mintoff is dead, because whether he was good or bad, all he is now is dust.

Good or bad? Listen to us, it’s starting again.

You shouldn’t care because you’ll never know.

While blogging about the Dear Dom movie I remember writing “the education system has failed me and many others my age”. Whilst I don’t agree with the notion that we shouldn’t care – because I believe we are where we are today thanks to (or despite of) Mintoff – no one my age was ever offered the opportunity to read, digest and form an independent opinion of this person. Decades have passed since Dom Mintoff came into power but no one has ever sat down and written an unbiased account. Worst of all is that we have a gap in our history books, and there needs to be someone mature enough to fill this gap.

I now know why I don’t care, as Philip perfectly put it, I am more interested in what’s happening now, around this planet of ours, but that doesn’t mean this is the way I should be feeling. It shouldn’t be the be all and end all but I want to know, I want to care, I want to understand.

Pride in Malta – Pride March 2012

Malta’s Pride March 2012 will be taking place on Saturday 30th June at 10:30 outside Surfside. This event will also mark the start of Pride Week which will feature a full week of events including an LGBT film festival at St James Cavalier. For all event details you can check out MGRM’s event page.

The pride march is all about equality, so why not come and show your support; numbers seem to be the only way to tap into the decision makers’ line of sight. Even though something is already being done, with the passing of the Hate Crime Bill last week in Parliament, there is still a lot of ground Malta needs to catch up on.

If you cannot make it on Saturday you can still show your support by downloading the amazing posters from the MGRM website and displaying them on your Facebook. Designs and illustrations have all been created by the fabulous and very talented Ms Noko;

So will you be showing your support to the local LGBT community?

Gay pride poster

And if you feel like clicking away, have a look at these amazing pictures taken at the various gay pride activities all around the world this week.

ACTA in Malta part 2

Things have changed since I wrote my first post about ACTA, I now know it’s not as evil as I thought.

As soon as I started participating in the debates about ACTA online I wanted to get as much information as possible about it so I read and read and read. Unfortunately there is so much information about ACTA on the internet that you end up not knowing what or who to believe. All I wanted, and still want in fact, is answers, however I’m very sceptic about the answers that have suddenly started cropping up. Just today, this appeared on 

The link takes you to a very basic HTML page with 10 facts about ACTA. The page seems to address the accusations which appeared in a video some time ago on youtube, but completely disregards the concerns and questions many of us still have.

Having said that, I still think this is positive – meaning someone out there is at least listening.

What I cannot stand is the continuous politicizing of the matter on social networks. From the start I was adamant that such an issue shouldn’t be another argument towards elections. Unfortunately, ACTA is being used for this;

Not only do these people show how much they care about ACTA, but they also show how much they care about current affairs. Check out who the current Finance Minister in Malta is…

ACTA in Malta

As the rest of us frenzied on Franco Debono and the no confidence vote, something eerie was going on, something which will effect how each and every one of us will be able to use the internet – ACTA.

On Thursday, Malta together with the other European member states approved an international copyright agreement treaty called Acta (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). ACTA is disguised as an agreement which will safeguard intellectual property rights. The truth however, is that such laws on copyright are already in place. ACTA will curb freedom of expression, endanger your communication privacy and restrict your civil and digital rights. With this agreement, copyright holders will be able to bypass the court system and go directly to your internet service provider.

This means, no trial, no representation.

So while a couple of weeks ago we were patting ourselves in the back because Malta had just revamped its censorship laws, we completely missed the bandwagon on this. Want to stay organized locally? Groups, pages and events have already been set up on Facebook.

Protest against ACTA –

Malta Anti-ACTA group –

via the San Francisco Examiner

Read more about ACTA here;


More action can be taken by whoever disagrees with ACTA can do so officially by sending the following email to the following individuals that represent you. These of course are Maltese MEP’s so if you’re not a maltese citizen simply find the MEP’s representing you and send then an e-mail –

Please note that Simon Busuttil and David Casa had voted against looking into the major concerns with regards to ACTA. 


Maltese elections in 140 characters

Everyone seems to have stepped into election mode, and since I’ve been lured to the J’accuse election blogroll I thought I’d write something about the sorry state of local Twitter use amongst the local political parties.After the Barack Obama win in 2008 the world started seeing the potential of Social Media when fighting out an election. If some of you remember the latest British elections in 2010 Twitter was an unexpected tour de force. Would the same thing happen locally?First things first; thankfully both parties have a Twitter account;
Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) –!/PNmalta
Partit Laburista (PL) –!/PL_Malta

These are the numbers, including a Klout score which is a nifty way to measure online influence, assuming influence is what the elves behind the accounts crave.

So far, analyzing the numbers, the PL are definitely way far ahead than PN when it comes to Twitter use. However, and this is a big however, both parties’ use of Twitter is appalling.  Why? There is no engagement. Nada, zero, zilch! Whilst the PL have automatic posts from their Facebook, which is already a big no-no in Social Media, the PN post every single thing which is published on their online newspaper. There is no interaction with other Twitter users, no reply or retweets.One way communication with everything else pretty wide shut. PN even go a step further and not even follow any users. Both parties treat Twitter like a link garbage can, abusing it only for the link juice it so freely provides.So why do PL have a better Klout score than PN if they are doing the same thing? This happens because the PL happen to be more active when it comes to posting than the PN are. The PL have a very strong following on Twitter which continuously retweet whatever they post and mention them in a lot of their posts. Most of these are their own MPs which seem to have taken to Twitter quite well, and that is why they are currently winning the Twitter war.

AD, Malta’s Green Party, also unfortunately makes the same mistakes and this gives them a Klout Score of 10. And I say unfortunately because I truly believed they would be the ones who would try to use means such as Twitter to better reach their target audience.

That brings me to the question – will Social Media lead the next elections in Malta? From the way things stand, the answer is no. None of the parties seem to want to devote any time, money, or interest to Twitter. Facebook will be discussed in a later blog, but for now it seems like it all rests on the good old BORING billboards.

Consciences, resignations and a whole lot of tosh

My last post about Divorce was back on March 16th, when the referendum was approved in Parliament. Since then I kept quiet… why? Well firstly because I don’t enjoy seeping down to idiotic forms of so called discussions and secondly because I always thought that such a matter should have been decided, maturely, in Parliament. So I took my vow of silence, which was incredibly hard, because let’s face it, those billboards (from both sides) should have been dedicated a blog post – what an utter disaster!

This weekend I broke my vow and now here I am writing about divorce one more time. What moved me? It was this article from The Times; “Nationalist MPs confirm they have free vote in Parliament”. I just couldn’t get over the fact of how many times the word conscience was used. Edwin Vassallo and Dolores Cristina were very quick to exclaim how they will be voting “according to [their] conscience”. Politicians with a conscience? I thought that was an extinct species.

And what about Austin Gatt, who seems to have forgotten the mighty power of Google? Yes he never did declare he would resign if the yes triumphed in the referendum but he did say and I quote;

“If [the party’s] decision goes against what I conscientiously believe in, I would resign from Parliament since I would not be able in all conscience to back a pro-divorce party and I cannot ever expect my view prevails over the majority view.”

Thing is, the Prime Minister has already been quite frank about how Parliament should respect the people’s view, so the question really is, is he going to resign now or when divorce eventually goes through? I guess only time will tell.

In the meantime we should just sit back, pat ourselves on the back (the yes vote did go through and there was no carcading) and just wait for this interesting story to unfold.