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Editor:

AnnaMaria Zammit

editorial

Editorial Board:

Claire Bonello Kristina Cassar Noel Camilleri Head of Design:

Theo Cachia Layout and Production:

Isabel Micallef Glorianne cassar Illustrators:

Kurt sammut alessi, romina tolu iella Head of Photography:

Glorianne Cassar Photographers:

Rachelle Zammit Mamo, shaun abdilla Media Officer:

Christine Spiteri Sales and Marketing:

Anton Abela Maria anthea attard Contributors:

Nathan Adams, Monique Agius, Nikolai Attard, Rebecca Bezzina, Claire Bonello, Matthew Borg, Hillary Briffa, Diane Brincat, Jessica Bugeja, Ricky Bugeja, Albert Camilleri, Noel Camilleri, David Carabott, Christine Caruana, Kristina Cassar, Christable Catania, Abigail Cremona, Rona Custo, David Debono, Tamara Fenech, Andrew Galea, Michael Gauci, Emma Grech, Annabel Hili, Liz Mallia, Matthew Saliba, Christine Spiteri, Romina Tolu, Sandy Vella, The Whistleblower vox pop:

sandy vella

To all our contributors: It has been a pleasure working with each of you over this academic year. Thank you so much for taking an interest in The Insiter, for working hard to submit articles, reports, illustrations, and photos of a high standard, and also for making valid and important suggestions. I’ve had the honour of dealing with many intelligent and varied contributions in the course of compiling several editions of the publication. You are the reason that it has continued to evolve into the unique student-run product that we are extremely proud of. Your enthusiasm was invaluable. To all our readers: Thank you for being a captive, receptive, and creative audience. There’s nothing more rewarding then putting down a fresh pile of magazines and returning an hour later to find they have disappeared. You can join our growing team of contributors at any point, and we hope that you’ll take the initiative to do so at the earliest opportunity. If you have grievances to air, news to share, or student events to promote, The Insiter is the place to do so. Let’s continue to be proof against student apathy. The sub-editors, head designer and photographer, and our long-time designer, have been a talented, tireless, and brilliant team, whose dedication and flair for what they do has seen us through much hard work with infallibly excellent results. Needless to say, I’m endlessly grateful to them. Finally, members of the Insite Executive Board deserve thanks for their support and constant behind-the-scenes efforts. The seventh and final edition of this academic year will be published online, and will constitute my hand over to the next editor. I hope that many of you will join or remain a part of the team, or even become more deeply involved in The Insiter. With sincere gratitude and best wishes for the future, The Editor

Cover design:

iella

© 2010 Insite – The Student Media Organisation. All rights reserved.

the

is published eight times a year by insite – the student media organisation and is distributed for free on campus. CORRESPONDENCE:

CONTENTS

10

DIVORCE; YES OR NO? Emma Grech comments about the prospect of divorce in Malta and goes on to interview the man behind the divorce motion: MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando

04 08 14 18

News election time on campus student orgs. the claire chronicles

Insite – The student media organisation, university of malta, msida, msd 2080 sales & advertising:

sales@insite.org.mt Email:

print@insite.org.mt WEBSITE:

INSITERONLINE.com

22 23 24 26

THE WHISTLE BLOWER ANDREW GALEA vox pop fashion shoot: lolita

40

student secrets: Inspired by the PostSecret Project, The Insiter proudly presents some of uom’s students’ darkest secrets.

30 31 32 38 44 45 46

have the summer of your life diy-er 4 life

15

student orgs.: The Insiter met up with Desa for an interview regarding their latest artsy campaign “Creattivity FTW!”

28 FEATURE:

personality of the Albert Camilleri interview’s ksu’s newly elected president: Stefan Balzan month

environment tomtom xl2 satnav review blue? Red? black? classified

19 20 21 33 34 35 36

Letter to the editor MATTHEW BORG MATTHEW SALIBA

less noise more love from page to stage B.eD students present play for kids exhibition Review: Alphonse mucha

42 Uncle Arthur:

Michael Gauci takes a good look at the 2010 Volkswagen Polo

insiteronline.com

03

christine spiteri

A Tribute to Fr Mario Jaccarini F

r Mario was a true man for others. Those closest to him describe him as an intelligent man, yet one who was extremely humble. I choose to remember him for his love of books and the English language, and his genuine concern and delicate attention to others’ needs. Fr Mario was our University’s first Chaplain, back in the 70s, a post which he occupied for nine years. Fr Arthur, a fellow Jesuit and a close friend of his, recalls how during that period Fr Mario used to visit every office on campus, to build a relationship with the staff working on campus. Apart from this, he used to personally visit his students who had gone on to further their studies in Italy and England, to ensure that they were fine. Fr Mario was a fan of the The Insiter, and it was thanks to this publication that we became friends. He used to write

the occasional book review for us, of a carefully chosen book which he felt would benefit University students. I really admired him for his intellect, and how up to date he was with whatever was going on around him. Despite the generation gap, we could hold a decent conversation about anything. He had even created a Facebook account to remain in contact with his ex-students. I couldn’t agree more with my friend Isaac (an ex-student of Fr Mario), who said that, “Fr Mario simply loved young people, especially students, and his being young at heart spoke louder than words. In fact, I remember vividly our last encounter, when he said words which still resound in my mind: ‘Mhux billi xiħ, għadni żagħżugħ f’qalbi!’ (Although I’m old, I’m still young at heart!)”.

Noel Camilleri

university trust

fund set up

A

University of Malta Trust Fund has been set up after an agreement was signed at the Auberge de Castille between Prime Minister Dr Lawrence Gonzi and University Rector, Professor Juanito Camilleri. The fund represents the need for the University to generate its own funds, independent from government contributions, which today account for about 85% of the University’s income. Through this fund, private individuals and companies can start donating money to the University either for specific projects or for the upkeep of the University in general. In

return, the funds contributed, which can include property, will be tax deductible. During the signing ceremony, the government announced a donation of €500,000 to serve as a start-up for this fund. The idea of the setting up of such a fund has been in the pipeline for quite some time, with both the University Rector and ksu calling for the setting up of a source of finance which the University can tap into without further burdening government finances.

Appointment of Pro Chancellor O

n 5 April, Ms Bernardine Mizzi was presented with her appointment as Pro Chancellor of the University of Malta and ex officio President of Council, by the Chancellor, Professor David Attard. A ceremony took place at the Rector’s Office on the Valletta Campus. Ms Bernardine Mizzi graduated with a BA (Educ.) from the University of Malta in 1981. She is a Member of the ESU

04

The Insiter  • MAy 2011

(English Speaking Union) and a Bologna Expert, promoting eu Educational Programmes. She is also President of the ISA (Independent Schools Association), representing fourteen schools. Ms Mizzi describes herself as a lifelong learner. She is currently following a course in Consultancy for Educational Leadership Development at the Institute of Education, London University.

news

Noel Camilleri

MaltaPost Branch

opens on Campus

T

he recently opened MaltaPost Branch on the University of Malta Campus is located next to the Administration Building. According to the University authorities, the aim of this venture is to provide a wide range of postal services to the staff and students of the University, to entities housed on campus, and to other institutions in the vicinity, such as Mater Dei Hospital. Meanwhile, a post box has been installed by the Gateway Building, for which the final collection time is after 7pm on weekdays, and after 3pm on Saturdays. Positive feedback has been received regarding this initiative from staff and students alike as the service has already become popular with campus users.

David Carabott

EU Students Programmes:

the Saga Continues

I

n May 2010, a temporary suspension was imposed by the European Commission (EC) on Malta of two European Union (EU) educational programmes: Youth in Action (YiA) and Lifelong Learning. Each year, approximately 200,000 European students go to study and work abroad. So far 1.5 million students have participated, and the number of students is expected to swell to around 3 million by 2012. Regrettably, the student mobility rate for Malta is among the lowest in Europe. The European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, Androulla Vassiliou, wrote on her blog (http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/vassiliou/about/priorities/index_en.htm) that the EC’s Europe 2020 strategy is aiming to boost youth mobility and allow European students the experience of other European educational institutions. In May 2010, Maltese students planning to go on Erasmus had to change their plans, as the educational programme funds were suspended by the EC, following administrative inaccuracies by the European Union Programmes Agency (EUPA) in Malta, a unit of the Ministry of Education, Youth and Employment. Hon. Dolores Cristina, Education and Employment Minister, stated that she was unaware of what was going on with the funding. Hon. Evarist Bartolo, Labour spokesman on Education, and Hon. Owen Bonnici, Opposition Spokes-

person for Higher Education, University, Research and Culture, both said that Hon. Dolores Cristina should resign after what happened. Professor Christopher Bezzina, one of three senior Education Ministry officials who were blamed for the suspension of eu funds, resigned and stated in the local media that the brief investigation was meant to protect top Ministry officials. Principal Permanent Secretary Godwin Grima said that Bezzina did not provide any supporting evidence for the allegations of mismanagement In the meantime, the Government has tried to handle the situation by directing students to the Exchange Programmes scheme at the University, and through agreements to receive funds from other eu countries. The much awaited calls for applications of Erasmus Mobility for academic year 2011/12 for students and staff of the University of Malta are finally out. Stefania Fabri from the International & eu Office of the uom told The Insiter that “EUPA have advised our office that the publication of the selection results and the green light on the continuation of the award procedure in 2011 will be possible only once the EC decides to fully lift the programme suspension”. There is a pressing need for concerned authorities to take all appropriate measures to resolve the situation, so that Maltese students may benefit from the EU’s education and youth programmes.

insiteronline.com

05

Student Rep

Elections 2011 O

n Friday 1 April, an election by and from the student body was held in terms of Article 80(e) of the Education Act, 1988 (and Article 3(vi) of the Statute of the Institute for Sustainable Energy, where applicable). The elected individuals will sit on the Boards of their respective faculties for a period of two years. The elections were carried out by secret ballot. The results are as follows: Faculty of Engineering: Mr Malcolm Zammit Faculty of Laws: Ms Rodianne Caruana; Mr Randolph De Battista Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences: Mr David Debono; Ms Romina Tolu Faculty of Theology: Mr Dillon Bugeja Institute for Sustainable Energy: Ms Alison Attard; Mr Patrick Spiteri Staines

tamara fenech

JAPANEASE: a cultural event to help the victims of Japan T

he Malta Comic Con and the Maltese Islands Cosplay Association (M.I.C.A.) are two non-governmental organisations which share a common passion for comics and cosplay. Together, they seek to encourage and promote this type of culture in Malta. Most of all, they share a sincere love for art and Japanese culture. Following the wave of earthquakes, the tsunami, and the harmful radiation leaks that struck the beautiful land of Japan, leaving a trail of devastation and deaths in their wake, the Malta Comic Con and M.I.C.A. teamed up in order to hold a charity event called JAPAN EASE, in aid of Japan and its unfortunate victims. The event was held on 30 April at The Point in Sliema. The day was dedicated to Japanese culture, consisting of cultural, artistic, and entertaining activities. There were lectures on Bonsai Growing and on how to draw Manga. Other activities ranged from Manga-style artwork displays to live drawing sessions by artists. There were also Cosplay skits in colourful costumes, and various games like Yu-Gi-Oh! An interesting feature was the live music provided by the singers Natasha and Charlene and Clifford Galea, who were participants in the Malta Song for Europe. Other activities included Japanese food, Martial Arts and life-saving demonstrations, traditional Japanese crafts, street magicians performing tricks and two Anime, Japanese Rock (J-Rock) and Japanese Pop (J-Pop) themed parties to close the event.

06

The Insiter  • MAy 2011

JAPAN EASE was aimed at exposing the Maltese people to the rich and diverse culture of Japan, in order to understand it more and appreciate it better. All gathered funds from the event were donated to the Japanese Red Cross to help the victims of Japan in their hour of need. The organisers hope that this charity event helped to bring back some smiles and restore hope in the land of the Rising Sun.

news

KSu canteen survey

K

su is currently conducting a survey among University and Junior College students about both institutions’ canteens. This will enable ksu to produce a report about the state of both canteens, more than a year since the takeover by a new operator. Questions in this review seek to glean from students

information about the variety of food and beverages on offer, the quality of service provided, and the prices being requested. The survey also tackles the new operator’s policy to segregate different counters according to the products being sold, and asks customers to identify those counters which are most and least efficient.

Christabel Catania

Attorney-General files

appeal on ‘Ir-Realtà’

O

n 14 March, persons who treasure the right to freedom of speech rejoiced at the acquittal of Mark Camilleri and Alex Vella Gera from obscenity charges. The two were acquitted by Magistrate Audrey Demicoli, after a long legal battle. Mark Camilleri, editor of Ir-Realtà newspaper, commented that at first he was worried that a judgment in favour of censorship would be delivered, but said that “when the police presented their case, I immediately predicted that I would win the case hands down”. Alex Vella Gera, the writer of the controversial story Li Tkisser Sewwi, and Camilleri, were charged under Article 208 of the Criminal Code, which concerns the distribution of pornographic material; this article carries a maximum jail term of six months and/or a fine of up to €465.87. To make matters worse, the Code has been amended to make the sentences harsher: six to twelve months imprisonment, and/or a fine of €1,000-3,000. This change to the Code was described by Justice Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici as one intended to step up the fight against child pornography, a statement which is still approached sceptically, since the Criminal Code contains other provisions concerning pornography and minors. It all started when Mark Camilleri published Li Tkisser Sewwi, a graphic piece of fiction about sexual violence written by Mr Vella Gera. Its distribution was immediately prevented, as the University Rector Prof. Camilleri banned the newspaper’s distribution and reported the editor to the police. Many hoped that the story would come to an end with the acquittal, yet the Attorney General filed an appeal, saying that “God is above everything”. Mr Camilleri commented that this is a perfect example of our theocratic state at work. Camilleri added that religion should not be used as an excuse to suppress art. Political development in Europe has stopped this type of censorship, yet in Malta we are still lagging behind.

When asked whether the courts can decide what is art and what isn’t, he said that the courts shouldn’t be used to censor and judge works of art. Art, he continued, does not have the obligation to be either didactic or moralistic; art can be simply produced for aesthetic purposes, or to realistically depict life. The acquittal was welcomed by various organisations, including the Labour Party, which said that the court had effectively underlined the point that authors and writers should not be arraigned on criminal proceedings for publishing fiction. Alternattiva Demokratika welcomed the acquittal as a triumph of freedom of expression. Move, the Progressive Students’ organisation, added that this ought to give back our artists the confidence that might have been lost due to past debacles. Also, following the court judgment, Mr Camilleri demanded an apology from University Rector Juanito Camilleri for reporting the case, and added that it would be good if he stepped down. The Rector replied that he would not comment, “until it is clear whether an appeal by the competent authorities shall be filled or otherwise.” The two were acquitted on the basis that the prosecution had produced no evidence to define public morality in Malta, and how it had been infringed, since public morality changes over time. Furthermore, the publication was distributed only to students of the University and the Junior College, who are mature students having access to a variety of media, including books, newspapers, and the internet. And finally, the writer had exercised his freedom of expression through a literary work and no crime had resulted. The Front Against Censorship has stated that a change to some particular laws is necessary. Camilleri stated that the law legalising any critique or satire directed towards the Catholic Church and religion is required, while theatre and film need to be saved from the clutches of a censorship board.

insiteronline.com

07

Election Time

on Campus

The members of the ksu Executive Board for the duration of the academic year 2011-2012 have now been determined. On 14 April, the Students’ Council elections were held on campus. sdm (Studenti Demokristjani Maltin) and ML (Moviment Liberali) contested. 1808 votes were cast, and sdm won the majority of votes. Hillary Briffa discusses.

D

on’t forget to vote!’ The enthusiastic cry echoed incessantly around the University Campus on the 14 April, as beaming election candidates scurried up to one student after another. Ballot in hand, I awaited my turn to make my carefully thought-out choice, and drop the paper into the large white box in the centre of the ksu Common Room, in the hopes that my decisions will bear fruit. Following an intense vote tallying process, the waiting finally came to a head in the early hours of Friday morning. The entire voting and counting process was reported by the student media organisation Insite, which released frequent updates via social media, and defused some of the tension through humoristic quips. It was the first to proclaim the triumphant party.

photography chris vella (www.flickr.com/chrisvella)

The unsurprising result saw sdm significantly ahead of the opposing Moviment Liberali, who contested five of the eleven available positions on the Executive Board. While congratulations to the victors are in order, concern is rife

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The Insiter  • MAy 2011

over the dismal turnout of voters. Out of the eligible 13, 161, only 1,808 votes were cast (which, for the statistically inclined, points to a paltry 13.74% of the student body). Indeed, a number of disgruntled voters declaimed about how easy it is for individuals to spend the scholastic year speaking about things they wish to see changed at University, yet when it comes to stepping up to the plate and deciding on the people to bring about these alterations, they bemoaned that apathy wins out over the effort required to tick a few boxes. Subjective student opinions aside, an objective scrutiny of the results notes that the number of mixed votes increased dramatically in comparison with last year’s elections, while a significant decrease was witnessed in the relation to the amount of block votes obtained by each party. Mixed votes come about when an individual cites a preference for members of different parties in various posts. There were 287 of these, and sdm accumulated 1,166 block votes, whereas Moviment Liberali garnered 321.

news ANALYSIS

Albeit not achieving the desired seats this year, Moviment Liberali has not been disheartened. Despite obvious disappointment, the party is determined to maintain its presence on campus and offer an alternative point of view. Mark Camilleri, who lead the party’s vigorous campaign, blamed the low turnout and the 538 votes cast at Junior College for the loss, especially since only 20 of the latter were dedicated to ML. While the organisation has evolved as a viable alternative to sdm at University, it is keen to increase its influence at the sixth form over the coming year. ML’s stand in the elections contrasts with that of student organisation Pulse, which boycotted the elections for the second year in a row, as a sign of protest. Moviment Liberali declares, however, that it does not view Pulse as a rival, and would actually be willing to enter into a coalition. The major difference between the two is that although both parties are dissatisfied with the voting system, ML still believes in running for elections in the hopes of being able to change things from the inside. Pulse opted out again this year due to its discontent with the first-past-the-post electoral system currently in place for ksu elections. Essentially, this method sees the election of whichever candidate obtains a majority of the votes, even if the percentage he/she gained is below the halfway mark. While Pulse concedes that first-past-the-post should be retained for a role as pivotal as that of President, it holds that proportional representation ought to be implemented for the other positions, to ensure a fair outcome. As a reaction to this year’s results, the organisation asserted how the poor turnout only highlights the need for a change in the system, questioning whether ksu can truly profess itself as representative of students when it is only bolstered by a narrow margin of votes. Dipping the balance in the opposite direction, newly elected ksu President Stefan Balzan has voiced his disagreement in the face of the accusation that the flawed electoral system caused the low turnout. The fourth year law student stressed the democratic foundations of the first-past-thepost system, in that it enables individuals to be elected according to the number of votes they rack up, and irrespective of the success or failure of team mates. Moreover, Balzan underscored the high attendance records of events organised by ksu, among them the recent Students’ Fest performance, in a bid to quell accusations of apathy among the student body. The party expressed its gratitude to the voters, and has made it a priority for ksu to reach out to as many individuals as possible over the next scholastic year. With results set in stone, here’s hoping that the new executive – consisting of Stefan Balzan, David Camilleri, Thomas Bugeja, Mario Cachia, Ruth Caruana, Michela Boffa, Sara Ellul, Danica Caruana, Luke Buttigieg, Jonathan Falzon, Abigail Cremona, Anton Abela, and Simon Mifsud – will be able to live up to its slogan, ‘Miegħek’.

insiteronline.com

09

the crumbs &

the carpet

The much-debated ‘Divorce Referendum’ is almost upon us. Progaganda continues to be disseminated by the so-called ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to divorce movements. But what will the introduction of divorce really mean for our little Islands? Emma Grech comments.

V

oting in a referendum requires a clear, calm mind, uninterrupted by the politics, the religious fervour, and the personal misdemeanours some may call righteous reasons as to why divorce should not be introduced (hardly a possibility when one is living in Malta).

Malta is a parliamentary democracy, whereby it’s a majority-rule, and the notion that is social solidarity serves, sometimes, to propel all those minor views that are seemingly less important, into a black, vehemently toxic abyss they call ‘the Common Good’. This term has been twisted, spun and appropriated to mean nothing but Alexis de Tocqueville’s idiosyncratic efforts to bring forth the cons of unlimited power exercised by a driven majority upon the smaller minority - the infamous ‘Tyranny of the Majority’. Ironic or simply inevitable, the referendum is to knock at our doors on the 28th of May, and it is the majority that shall be calling the shots, when, unfortunately, we see a minority who are currently in need of divorce (bearing in mind that divorce shall in the long-run serve as a civil right, should it be introduced, that will be available as a legal remedy for any Maltese citizen whose marriage has unfortunately failed). The concept of divorce denotes a legal process in which the bonds of matrimony existing between the spouses are ‘dissolved’, rendering them single once more, and able to remarry. This is not like annulment, which is applicable solely to Catholic marriages, and whereby a set of grounds in The Marriage Act serve to permit one spouse to bring the action against the other spouse, and whereby that marriage, if deemed null, is legally seen as never having taken place. The parties may, if granted an annulment, generally marry again, but one may not talk of ‘remarriage’, due to the first marriage never having taken place. Divorce is also different to separation, as the latter does nothing to the marriage except void the marital duty of cohabitation. Separated spouses are

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The Insiter  • MAy 2011

still married, and by implication, they cannot marry someone else. This would be bigamy. In the us of a, divorce is opted for like a ġelat from a typical Maltese beachside gabbana in the summer months. It is pretty much a Las Vegas style volcano that has erupted throughout most of the United States. What has lead to this craze is the availability in every state of ‘no-fault’ divorce, which is simply asking for the dissolution of one’s marriage contract due to ‘irreconcilable differences’. Although the type of divorce being proposed in Malta is a type of no-fault divorce, this does not mean that Malta shall become a reflection of Las Vegas style happenings. The difference lies in the question that the Opposition have posed in the referendum, that many have termed ‘loaded’. The question shall ask the people whether they agreed with divorce for couples who would have been separated for four years when there is no hope of reconciliation and as long as there are provisions for maintenance, and care of the children is guaranteed. Indeed, the main elements of this question have been taken from the Irish Divorce Bill of 1995. A fact that many seem to overlook is that our law permits for a judge to grant a separation on the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of marriage, even when the other spouse does not want it. Thus, the no-fault concept is very much alive and kicking in our jurisdiction, albeit solely within the separation process, for now. There are many types of ‘nofault’ divorce sub-genres. A four-year period of separation is, in my opinion, plainly confirmative of a failed marriage, and anything but indicative of a Las Vegas style divorce. And so I revert to my initial words: voting in a referendum requires a clear, calm mind, uninterrupted by the politics, the religious fervour, and the personal misdemeanours some may call righteous reasons as to why divorce should not be introduced. The crumbs are either on the carpet, whereby they stand to be cleaned up, or swept below it, where they are piling up.

in-depth report

DIVORCE. yes or no?

It’s all up

to you, really IT ALL BEGAN WITH THE PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILL. EMMA GRECH SPEAKS TO ONE OF THE MAJOR EXPONENTS HEADING THE IVA MOVEMENT, NATIONALIST MP JEFFREY PULLICINO ORLANDO – THE MAN BEHIND THE MOTIVE.

I

t’s a breath of political fresh air that greets me when I meet the notorious JPO. It feels great to finally come face to face with the man who bravely set the ball rolling way back in July 2010, when he presented his own private member’s bill to legislate for divorce. But this wasn’t something completely innovative. PL deputy leader Joseph Brincat had put forward a similar bill in the mid-1990s, to no avail. What really made Dr Pullicino Orlando take such a bold step? “My main aim was to spark off a debate which was very much needed”, he says. “The only way available to me as a Member of Parliament to do this, was to present a private member’s bill. I wasn’t imposing divorce on Malta,” he adds. “The bill has a number of positive points, which will, if approved, give at least an element of order to a situation that is always painful and disorderly.” The referendum is just behind the corner. It is no unknown fact that a referendum is a legal mechanism, which, in serving its democratic purpose and perhaps unfortunately so, shall oust the views of the minority. “Initially, I was of the same mind,” Dr Pullicino Orlando says. “However, I did have some intensive discussions with my Prime Minister, and I do accept now that the divorce issue is something to affect not only the ones who need divorce, but it is also an issue that shall have a positive impact on the whole society, if approved, for a number of reasons. So I believe that all should be involved in the decision, because all are going to be affected. “This is why I took the very difficult step of voting with the Opposition when it came to the motion presented to pave the way towards the upcoming referendum”, he says. “But I did feel that members in my party - and I am not refer-

ring to the Prime Minister,” he adds, “were out to kill the bill before it was actually put to the people for approval or disapproval. This to me, once we had introduced the concept of a referendum, was unacceptable.” Perhaps more sensitive, but all the more important, the question arises as to how things went on behind-the-scenes. “The manoeuvring going on was a bit too Machiavellian for my liking; some people in my party seemed to be attempting to deny the people their right to make an informed and responsible choice about an important subject,” he disappointedly admits. “Unfortunately, we also had the same group of people stating that if the people voted ‘Yes’ and thus in favour of responsible divorce, they would still consider voting against the will of the people.” It all boils down to politicians, who, he believes, are committing the mistake of overly mixing their religious or personal beliefs with their responsibilities as legislators, which is unacceptable. Even worse, he maintains, is voting completely for political advantage. And what of the equation of divorce with marital breakdown? This seems to be the main defence of the anti-divorce lobby. Dr Pullicino Orlando feels that this is one of the least valid arguments that could be posited in order to convince people to vote against divorce. “If we think that the introduction of divorce is going to promote marital breakdowns, then we’ve got a very distressful situation on our hands. Is it possible that the only thing keeping families together is the lack of divorce? God forbid!” He admits that prima facie, one could equate divorce with marital breakdown. He himself was only convinced of the positive side to the responsible divorce he eventually co-

insiteronline.com

11

proposed with Evarist Bartolo when he read the bill (that is itself based on the Irish Bill of 1995). So what of its upsides? “It is an ideal bill because it draws on the experience of other countries. It does not propose a quick fix divorce, but simply regulates a situation that may very well become chaotic in a few years’ time if we do not do our best to regulate it.” He points out that this situation is that of cohabitation. What of the notion of the electoral mandate vis-à-vis the private member’s bill? Dr Pullicino Orlando has been criticized severely for putting forward a private member’s bill to legislate on divorce when this was never specified in the electoral mandate. “I did not need an electoral mandate to put forward the bill. I presented other such bills in the past, and I did not have an electoral mandate to do that.” Indeed, there is a misconception that the term ‘electoral mandate’ encapsulates promises set in stone. “Practically, a government should not be fully constrained by an electoral mandate,” he maintains. “Otherwise, we would have to lower the income tax rate drastically, for instance, in a situation where the government has promised that the income tax rate cannot possibly be lowered as was promised in the electoral programme!” A private member’s bill is specifically meant to allow a backbencher, like himself, to propose an initiative. He adds that Dr Joseph Muscat had primarily put forth this particular initiative in 2008, and had maintained that were he to be elected Prime Minister, he would have taken the same step. “I believe I had much more of a right in inciting a private member’s bill, simply for the consideration of the house, than Dr Eddie Fenech Adami had, for instance, in proposing a cohabitation law in the opening speech of this legislature, considering that cohabitation was not in the PN electoral programme for 2008.” Dr Pullicino Orlando returns to the debate of divorce being equated with marital breakdown, and goes on to provide some statistics. He maintains that the marital breakdown rate in Malta is at 22% when one counts solely l e ga l separations. “When one adds annulments

granted to this figure,” he adds, “one obtains a grand total of 30%. This is the marital breakdown rate of 2009, so presumably the figure has risen”. So why defend the legal remedies that are annulment for a Catholic marriage, and separation for a state marriage, as against divorce? The issue remains quite unfathomable. “Annulment is a very strong notion. When an annulment is granted, it means that your marriage has never taken place. In my informed opinion it is being approved in such high numbers simply because there is no divorce available in Malta,” he assertively concludes. He immediately hits upon a hot topic, by considering the effects of marital breakdown on children.

Is it possible that the only thing keeping families together is the lack of divorce? MP Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando

“The children, unfortunately, will always be negatively affected. But keep in mind that children do not really care whether this marital breakdown has occurred through a de facto or de jure separation, annulment, or divorce.” He adds that with a 30% marital breakdown rate, we cannot simply continue to bury our heads in the sand, or hide behind the shadow of the ‘Strong Family Unit’ that we are so overly proud of as a nation. “However”, he muses, “it is thankfully the case that we have got a strong family structure in Malta, and hopefully, the situation shall continue to be such”. When I ask what he thinks of the possible referendum outcome, he gives me a positive reply. “I think that the Maltese will approve this bill. It is obvious that this bill does not equate with marital breakdown in the way that many are describing. It simply seeks to regularise the situation of people who are now in a longstanding relationship, and their first marital relationship has completely failed. By providing legal status to a couple who would in today’s situation simply be cohabiting, we would definitely be favouring the notion of the ‘family’.” Many joke that things happen ‘Only-in-Malta’, and that Malta lags behind in almost every development. It isn’t great to admit it, but it does seem to be true. Dr Pullicino Orlando is of the opinion that the divorce bill shall be a way of catapulting us into the 21st century. Furthermore, religion and state policy are immensely commingled in this country, and whether we like

“The Le movement is an alliance”, Dr Pullicino Orlando tells me, as I ask about the Church’s position today. “Unfortunately, there is a segment of the Nationalist Party that is militating actively with the Church, and their collective front is the Żwieġ Mingħajr Divorzju campaign. I do say this with a tremendous amount of responsibility,” he says, exercising the backbone of a true politician, “that this campaign is simply a front”. He goes on to say that, on the other hand, the Iva movement is genuine, uniquely composed of representatives from the major Maltese political players, and also representatives from civil society. “At least with the Iva movement, you know where you stand”. So what will happen if the divorce bill is voted against? “One should appreciate the fact that the majority of our MPs have said that they will respect the people’s decision. I am one of these MPs. It would be a pity, but I would definitely withdraw the bill, as I cannot go against the will of the majority.” He maintains that one of his biggest preoccupations is the turn out. “The Iva movement is facing a situation where we don’t have any formal established political movement that is backing us. Le has a political movement that has been militating in this country for over a hundred years: the Nationalist Party, and it has a network that has been built up over 2000 years: the Catholic Church. “Le is supposed to be a political movement. If we went ahead and declared this movement to be a part of the Curia, that would be fine. But why is it being given open access to parish centres to conduct sermons? If you ask me, Le does not seem to be a bona fide political movement.” He brings the issue of cohabitation into the picture once more, stating that a

in-depth report

“One has to see the difference between church matters and state matters. Indeed, the church in Malta has done an inordinate amount of good, and is still doing its fair share of good, but certain churchmen do not understand that there is a fine line dividing church and state policy that should never be crossed.” He makes it clear that he does not want to stifle the church in any way. “But the question needs to be asked, save for the fact that it is against its teachings,” he insists, “as to why the church is so petrified of the introduction of divorce!” Every political debate that has ever occurred on these islands has had three major contenders: the Nationalist Party, the Malta Labour Party, and the Church.

lot of people are underestimating the problem. He maintains that the fact that we have thousands being forced to cohabit has not had a dramatic effect on the family structure…yet. “I sincerely believe that eventually it will have such a dramatic effect that we will end up having to introduce divorce, and it may have to be a ‘quick-fix’ divorce. The chaos will not allow us the luxury of introducing a type of divorce that proposes a four-year waiting period. The leading exponents of the Le movement know that what I am saying is true. It is a pity they are opposing it. Unfortunately, some of the exponents of the Le movement are simply blinkered fundamentalists. “The Nationalist Party executive committee has been accepting pro-divorce candidates for years in order to put forth a sort of liberalist stance. Once crunch-time came about, everyone started panicking. We ended up with the same executive committee buckling under political pressure and taking a formal stand against divorce. ” A lot of politicians seem to be in favour of divorce as a concept, but not of divorce being introduced ‘now’. Dr Pullicino Orlando dwells on this. “Austin Gatt, for instance, who has donned a suit of armour and became an anti-divorce crusader, has often said that he is not against divorce, but he is against it being introduced ‘now’. So if we are, in this sense, not absolutely against divorce, how come suddenly the Nationalist Party comes out with a stand against divorce? “Whenever I hear the words, ‘now is not the right time’,” he adds, “I simply ask, ‘WHEN is the right time’? And I never get an answer”. I ask this bright, driven MP one last question. If I stood before him as an anti-divorce conservative, and he was granted 59 seconds to convince me that divorce is the way forward, what would he tell me? “You’ve got a simple choice,” he begins, and I already know it’s going to be a convincing argument. “It is the lesser of two evils. I will quote Fr Rene Camilleri. He said that in a situation where I have a choice between promoting a cohabitation law, and promoting a divorce law, I would try to promote the latter. At least by doing so, I can actually say that I believe in the institution of marriage.” He grins. “What else is there to say?”

illustration kurt sammut alessi

it or not, this has been a contributor to our lagging behind.

Annabel Hili

Debate on Military Intervention in Libya S

tudents as well as the general public were invited to attend a debate entitled ‘Military Intervention in Libya’ held on campus on 23 March. The debate was organised by the DegreePlus Debating Society. The two teams consisted of two students each, and after the debate members of the audience were invited to voice their opinions on the subject and ask questions. Daniel Croucher and Kristina Miggiani presented their views in favour of the recent military intervention in Libya, justifying it with humanitarian reasons. Philip Leone-Ganado and Pete Farrugia argued against, with Leone-Ganado citing Iraq as one case in which military intervention backfired. He also shot down Croucher and Miggiani’s argument that intervention in Libya is occurring on a humanitarian basis, observing that the go-ahead was only given at the eleventh hour, after most foreign nationals were evacuated to safety. Miggiani brought to light the fact that Gaddafi has a terrible track record when it comes to human rights and thus cannot be trusted, leaving no option other than military intervention to protect the Libyan peo-

ple. She said that it was essential to stand up for the victims of oppression. She also spoke of cases in which there was no military intervention, such as Rwanda, and the result of such inaction. In response to this, Farrugia cited Egypt and Tunisia as examples of revolutions that did not require military intervention, arguing that freedom cannot be achieved by aggression. He also pointed out that a no-fly zone is far from passive, and that bombs are causing numerous civilian casualties every day. Rounding up the debate, Leone-Ganado made it clear that he was arguing against military intervention, rather than in favour of inaction, to which Croucher responded with a quote by Edmund Burke: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”. Commenting from the floor, audience members pointed out that the UN’s actions, unlike in the case of Iraq, were completely legitimate. Furthermore, questions were raised as to the timing of the intervention, as well as possible ulterior motives.

Student Organisations join forces for Japan Fundraiser Y

outh For The Environment (Y4TE), a non-profit students’ organisation, has spent the past year raising funds for good causes such as adopting endangered animals, planting trees, purchasing bins for the Aħrax area in Mellieħa, and other similar projects. To conclude our first year in operation as a student organisation, we organised a party at The Anvil Pub in St Julian’s, where part of the profits made by the bar were donated to Red Cross Japan. This donation was made in light of the recent natural disasters which have befallen the country, leaving many people homeless. We would like to thank ‘TwoTimeShooter’, winner of the 2010 Rookie’s Battle of the Bands, who recognised the importance of fundraising events for good causes, and performed a live acoustic set at the bar. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the following student organizations, who contributed their time and effort to promoting the philanthropic event: Pulse; CommA; għsk (Għaqda Studenti Tal-Kriminoloġija); knż (Kunsill Nazzjonali Żgħażagħ); mufc (Malta Univerrsity Film Club);Aġenzija Żgħażagħ; saces (Society of Architecture and Civil Engineering Students); aiesec; sdm (Studenti Demokristjani Maltin); mpsa (Malta Pharmaceutical Students’ Association); mmsa (Malta Medical Students’

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Association); asa (Arts Students’ Association);We Are, the University lgbtq Society; Betapsi; tsa (Tourism Studies Association); Greenhouse; Moviment Liberali; ksu (Kunsill Studenti Universitarji); eso (European Studies Organisation); jef (Young European Federalists); umgs (University of Malta Geographical Society); Moviment Graffiti. To emphasise good will and contribution to philanthropy in general, Nathan Adams, y4te President, and Noel Pace, president of the Malta Pharmaceutical Students’Association, donated both of their pays made during their shift at The Anvil Pub for the event. We would like to thank all the University of Malta students for their fantastic response.

student orgs.

Creativity Christine Caruana & Diane Brincat

FTW! F

or most desaians, ‘creativity’ is something not dissimilar to what the pulmonary artery is to the body, i.e. vital and held very, very close at heart. In fact, since its inception in 2007, desa has been organising various events in aid of the arts and creativity. However, it seemed to the current desa executive that with the reawakening force of Spring in the air, the timing was perfect to organise a campaign on campus that would not simply promote art but create some. This premise was proven correct as between 11 and 14 April, various locations on campus were buzzing with creative energy while desa’s ‘Creativity FTW’ campaign was underway. For the uninitiated few, ‘FTW’ stands for ‘for the win’, and this roughly translates to ‘awesome’ in internet speak, an apt adjective to describe the three aspects that this campaign comprised. These involved the setting up of a book sale during all four days of the campaign at Students’ House, a series of four workshops conducted by professionals in different areas of creativity, and a talk and debate entitled ‘What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?’. When the book sale officially kicked off on the 11th, desa already received applications for hundreds of books and there were 500 of them neatly stacked in our boxes. By the end of the week, there were over a thousand books on sale, and over 500 of them (including a massive collection of comics) had found a happy and loving home. Apart from promoting creative works which can be a direct source of inspiration for the creation of art by the buyers, the aim of the sale was to raise funds for desa. However, this was not done at the expense of the sellers, each of whom was entitled to 90 % of the profit made from their books, while desa kept 10% of it. desa is proud to say that the effort was well worth it as the book sale was an enormous success, with the total profits tallying over €1,800! The creativity seeds sown with the dissemination of books at the book sale then had some of their fruits reaped at the Creativity Workshops. These were held free of charge and, like the talk and debate, were DegreePlus recognised. On Monday 11th, the first workshop in ‘Scriptwriting for Stage’ was conducted by Malcolm Galea. ‘Feature Writing for Magazines’ by Jo Caruana followed the next day. The last

two workshops - ‘Creative Writing in Prose’ and ‘Screenwriting’ - took place on Thursday and were conducted by Clive Piscopo and Jean Pierre Magro, respectively. As evidenced also from the comments of the attendees, this series served as a well-needed breath of fresh air for participants. One only needs to take a look around on campus to realise that it’s no easy feat to have enough energy to engage in studying, working on assignments, dealing with parents, getting drunk at the weekend, and getting some work done on whatever it is that makes you feel alive. The use of the creative powers can do wonders for the last one, and learning about these from good sources while getting some hands-on practice to test the ground is a huge step forward. desa certainly looks forward to seeing the insight given in our workshops put to good use in the budding local arts scene. The way in which such cultural and educational industries, as well as others, can be enriched with the contributions of people with a University degree in English was the focus of the ‘What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?’ talk and debate. Thanks to our panel of speakers, which included Dr Clare Thake Vassallo, Ms Giuliana Peresso, Malcolm Galea, Jo Caruana, Theodor Reljic, Davinia Hamilton, and Neville Bezzina, some of the myths surrounding the B.A. English degree were dispelled. Unfortunately, many people think that such a degree is only synonymous with a teaching career. Such an outdated mentality is exposed in its flaws by the success stories of people such as those in our panel, who made it in different fields: from writing, to journalism, to marketing, to publishing, and, yes, to teaching. desa is delighted with the outcome of this campaign and the reception it had on campus. Heartfelt thanks go to all those who took part and who helped make it such a success. The campaign may have ended but remember, creativity is evergreen - you just have to use it! Christine Caruana is a B.A. English and Archaeology student, and pro for desa. Diane Brincat is a B.A. (Hons) English student, and Secretary General for desa.

insiteronline.com

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David Debono

MGRM PrideWeek Y

ear in, and year out, we hear about bullying and discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identification. So it’s refreshing to hear about lgbtq (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning/Queer) organisations who are constantly promoting lgbtq rights. One such organisation is mgrm, the Malta Gay Rights Movement. mgrm has a jam-packed couple of months ahead of it, with plans for the international day against homophobia (idaho) and preparations for pride week 2011, of which the theme is ‘I am pride’. ‘I am pride’ kicks off on 4 July, and culminates on 13 July with ‘Women Space’, an event held exclusively for individuals who identify as female. The main event, the annual pride march through Valletta, will occur on 9 July, and the week will include three screenings of lgbtq specific films.

mgrm campaigns such as pride week not only show the pride that lgbtq people feel, but also promote what members of the lgbtq community worldwide have already achieved in terms of acceptance, and thus reveal what Malta lacks. mgrm has held the pride march for the past six years, and turnout has steadily increased, with the number of participants reaching around 250 last year. This year, the NGO wants the participants to feel that they are actively participating in the ongoing struggle for lgbtq equality , which is why the theme ‘I am pride’ was opted for. Everyone is invited to show their support during pride week, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. If you feel strongly about lgbtq issues and wish to give your support, you are more than welcome to attend any event.

Rona Custò

GhSK, ICTSA & ASCS towards

one investigation:

Cyber Crime! G

ħsk, together with ascs and ictsa held a Cyber Crime Seminar on 14 May, at the Police Academy in Valletta. This seminar was held with the participation of the Cyber Crime Unit of the Malta Police Force, GO, kpmg, and uom ICT lecturers specialising in the field of internet security The concept of cyberspace has developed from science fiction into a socially constructed reality, and with an estimated 1.9 billion internet users worldwide, it is safe to assume that among them one also finds those with bad intentions. As technology has been developing and evolving in rapidly over the last few years, the spotlight on criminality shifted. Crime has taken on a new dimension in the world of cyberspace, and it must be acknowledged that the fabric of traditional criminal law is being seriously strained. Daily life has become intricately intertwined with computer and digital devices, and with the concept of E-everything; from personal online profiles to the way we conduct business, we are now aware that computers, and the infor-

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The Insiter  • MAy 2011

mation they store, have expanded the ability of criminals to perpetrate traditional crimes while posing huge challenges to the criminal justice community. The amount of personal and sensitive data being stored on the internet is an increasingly vast pool of opportunities for online criminals to prey on the way it is often left vulnerable and unsafe. It is imperative that organisations incorporate security as an essential element of information systems and networks, while being aware of what they can do to enhance security, as well as adopting a comprehensive approach to security management. Internet, and the veil of anonymity it can offer, is a threateningly increasing tool for individuals who use it to stalk or threaten people, commit online fraud or hacking, carry out cyber terrorism and distribute child pornography. Globally, law enforcement agencies have been investing in special units solely dedicated to intelligence gathering and investigation of this constantly evolving crime.

student orgs.

Romina Tolu

IDAHO: International Day Against

Homophobia and Transphobia

According to data released by ilga (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association), punishments for male to male relationships vary from fines to imprisonment of 10 years or more and death (in six countries). On the other hand, punishHomosexuality [hoh-muh-sek-shoo-al-i-tee ] (noun) ments for female to female relationships vary from im- sexual desire or behavior directed toward a person or persons prisonment to death (in one country). of one’s own sex. These are of course the rare cases, and although imprisonment and capital punishment are against the lgbt is an umbrella term used to refer to, but not limited to, law in Europe, there still are many laws which need to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transexual individuals. change in order to accommodate and not discriminate against lgbt people. mgrm, Drachma, We Are: lgbt organisations in Malta However, major steps forward have occurred for the lgbt community as a whole. In December 2010, ilga, ilga - Europe, iglyo: International lgbt organisathe us Senate repealed dadt. And Portugal is one of tions. the European countries to have recently introduced the recognition of same-sex partnerships on a legal level. dadt Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a law in usa which did not allow 2010 also saw the start of the ‘It Gets Better Projopenly gay military to serve their country. ect’ in the US, which went viral almost immediately. Following lgbt teen suicides around the country, acidaho no, not the American State, but International Day tivists, students, politicians, and actors and singers Against Homophobia and Transphobia. started posting YouTube videos of support and understanding. Major companies like Pixar, Google, and idaho occurs on to commemorate the World Health Or- Apple also had gay employees talking about their stories and ganisation’s decision to remove homosexuality from the list telling lgbt youths around the world not to despair and lose hope. of mental disorders 21 years ago. On the other hand, in January 2011 a human-rights deNowadays, there is a worldwide network that aims to increase awareness and share ideas all year round, with events fender in Uganda, David Kato, was murdered following his occurring on 17 May. In Malta, the Malta Gay Rights Move- public support of lgbt individuals. Despite this, Ugandan ment (mgrm) has been celebrating idaho since 2005. Last Ambassador in Brussels, Stephen T. K. Katenta-Apuli deyear, mgrm in collaboration with Drachma (a group of peo- clared that, “David Kato should share responsibility in this ple who seek to integrate their sexuality with their spirituali- very unfortunate incident”. Finally, from a recent and local perspective, Maltese law ty), gave out flowers and bookmarks to passers by in Valletta. idaho is not just about being proud to be gay, but about is also discriminating same-sex couples by not implementbreaking the boundaries put up by homophobic individuals ing the Free Movement Directive, which ensures that within who refuse to realise that ‘being gay is ok’ and not a disease, eu Member States spouses or partners are recognised as such in other countries, even when they are same-sex couples. a sin, or an abnormality. idaho only exists hand in hand with homophobia. lgbt Those unfamiliar with the lgbt world may wonder why it still is necessary to actually have an International Day organisations can’t wait for there to be no more need for against Homophobia, as well as events such as Pride Week, such events to try and better the situations and possibilities when the situation isn’t that bad anymore. After all, gay peo- of lgbt people around the globe, as well as the need to no longer exist to keep fighting for their rights. Unfortunately, ple aren’t actually being burnt at the stake, right? Well, homophobia still lurks around us. As much as the the global situation shows that this won’t happen in the near media tries to paint a rosy picture about the situation, lesbi- future, as there is a long way to go for complete equality to an, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals around the be reached. Romina Tolu is a B.Communications student as well as world are still being discriminated against for their sexual Communications Officer for We Are - the lgbt organisation orientation. on campus. Homophobia [ho•mo•pho•bi•a [hoh-muh-foh-bee-uh] (noun) - unreasoning fear of, or antipathy towards homosexuals and homosexuality.

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17

the claire chRonicles Passionate, silly and a bit of a nerd; every month, law student and lover-oflife CLAIRE BONELLO writes about productivity, positivity and pretty stuff, among other things. This month she shares her own woeful experience of a familiar student activity: writing assignments.

I

t’s that time of the semester again, when you receive a barrage of emails from your faculty with big, bright assignment titles for you to diligently attend to. I am not a fan of writing assignments at university, especially ones for my law course, and I am particularly not fond of group assignments. Luckily, the one I was working on a couple of weeks ago was solely with my best friend, so that made the process much more bearable. Plus, the topic we dealt with was somewhat within my own academic interests. It was a Wednesday, and at what felt like the break of dawn, I was off to meet my friend and assignment-partner at the library. We ended up ditching the (way too busy) library, and settled in a cafeteria. The research we had done separately paid off, because we soon had a semi-structured plan of our assignment. We split the work, thanked God for the blessing that is Google Docs, and will soon be combining our efforts and finalising the actual finished product. A few days ago I had another essay to write, by myself this time, and the deadline was pretty tight. Attempts at completing this 2000-word essay in one go failed miserably, and it took me 6 whole days to painfully cough up the words. The (minimal) research I had done wasn’t very helpful or inspiring, and merely quoting legal provisions was making me second-guess every point I was making. I managed to sort out my shoddy piece of work on the final day by rehashing the entire thing and following a few of these tips:

1. Start early. This doesn’t mean you need to have your essay done a month in advance. Simply do a bit of research, go over relevant lecture notes, and maybe thumb through a book or two. Ideally, this is to be done within a day or two after receiving the assignment title.

2. Formulate a plan. There are many approaches you can take when writing assignments, but one obligatory step is having some sort of structured outline. Type or write out a list of points and fiddle with the order they’ll be in and approximately how many words you’ll devote to each one. Even if you’re not very accustomed to making lists, simply

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put down a few rough ideas and start from there.

3. Have a strong introduction and conclusion, with clearly defined points in between. The introductory and concluding paragraphs of your work are incredibly important. The introduction should clearly convey the focus of the essay as well as explain key concepts, and the conclusion is there to confidently put forward all that you’ve evaluated and to tie up the main arguments. Naturally, the substantial part of the assignment has to be top-notch too. Stick to a structure, give examples, and make use of linking sentences.

4. Have a thesis which you’re confident about. Be able to sum up your main argument in a sentence or two. Ensure that this can be backed up with as many sources as you can gather.

5. The final touches can “make or break” an assignment. Proofread your work thoroughly. Look for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, and that all footnotes and references are as they should be. Make sure the format of your assignment allows for a well-presented, legible piece of work. Double check any forms your faculty might require you to place at the front of your assignment, and create a cover page clearly indicating all relevant details. With a touch of motivation and a good mindset, assignments can be finished relatively painlessly and efficiently. Just don’t let their deadlines creep up on you or you’ll inevitably end up with low grades and ridiculous amounts of stress. Otherwise, you’re geared up to present a stellar assignment. Also, never forget a fundamental part of the assignment-writing process: rewarding yourself with a cookie (or its equivalent) when it’s finally done. You deserve it. Good luck.

rEGULARS

Letter to the editor Dear Editor, We were surprised to find the ICT Faculty, the one we all form part of and are proud of, mentioned under the Nitpicker subsection ‘Coordination - you’re doin’ it wrong.’ Accusations of timetable clashes are unfounded, and problems are always pleasantly solved by a very understanding Faculty Officer, Ms. Stephanie Abood, who makes it her mission to accommodate the Faculty’s students needs as much as possible. The 36 credit limit which supposedly breaches the Bologna Process was actually proposed by a group of students last year, and the Faculty only approved it because it wanted to accommodate the student’s will. This has since been discussed extensively with the Student body and the Faculty staff and a compromise has been reached. The opinion piece seems to make the Faculty seem like it’s in a very grave condition indeed, however as active people within this same Faculty we can safely say that the article cannot be further away from the truth. As three people who actively work with students and attempt to be available to students as much as possible, we were taken aback to find such claims on one of University’s most prominent publications. We invite students who still have issues regarding anything within the Faculty to contact us as follows: Luke Buttigieg: lbut0006@um.edu.mt; Simon Theuma: sthe0002@um.edu.mt; Bekki Craus: ao@ictsamalta.org Regards, Luke Buttigieg and Simon Theuma - ICT Faculty Student Representatives Bekki Craus - ICTSA Academic Officer Below is the email which was sent by a B.Sc. (Hons.) student to The Nitpicker, and on which part of the column in the previous edition of The Insiter was based.

Date: 30 January 2011 23:03:55 CET To: nitpicker.insiter@gmail.com First of all I would like to say you run a great article, it’s always interesting to read! I am reading a degree in BSc (Hons) in CSAI and physics and am in my 4th year and can tell you that the respective administrations of the faculties of ICT and Science have always had problems in coordination and cause an enormous amount of problems to students taking units from both faculties. There seems to be no communication whatsoever between the faculties, and even less sharing of data, not to mention administrative ineptness - as a simple example, numerous times throughout the years a number of emails were sent to ICT students, but not to Science students - the worst offender being the ICT final year project application forms last semester - despite repeated complaints to the offices involved. The majority of the time science students would learn, much later, from friends in the ICT side of the course, with negative consequences on whatever timelines the emails included. This year is probably the worst in my 4 years here - as a case in point, both my exam and second semester timetables had clashes.... despite only having 3 exams in 2 weeks and 5 hours of lectures a week! One exam of ICT clashed with one physics exam, and a compulsory BIT lecture [which was apparently completely forgotten by the science admin as it was not listed in the timetable] on the ICT side clashed with a physics unit. 3rd year science students having CSAI also have a big problem on hand - despite University regulations clearly stating that no more than 36 credits may be offered per semester, me and my 2 colleagues had over 45 credits worth of lectures in the first semester last year including year-long units. The only consolation offered was that assignments were delayed by 2 weeks after exams. At the time, we didn’t take the issue further as even to reach that extension was quite a big hassle and we were, as can be imagined, hugely pressed for time. The problem probably arises from the fact that the ICT course has been cut down to 3 years, and the timetables have been only designed for ICT students. We were the first batch of science students to encouter this problem - which seemingly went unnoticed for the previous 2 years. That said, I’m told by some [3rd year] friends who also have physics and CSAI that this has not changed this year, rather unsurprisingly. If you have no new issues for your article at any point in time, the faculties of ICT/Science are a great source! I have not contacted you previously, however this semester was the straw that broke the camel’s back! Thanks for reading, gggggggggg

insiteronline.com

19

Matthew BORG

The Parking Problem Solved, at Long Last? I

t’s been every student’s headache, or rather nightmare, for donkey’s years now, and, by the looks of things, it doesn’t seem as if it will ever go away. No, I’m not talking about ‘Condomania’ on Campus (thank God that petty debate seems to have died down!), but about the parking problem that only gets worse as time goes by, especially because, more often than not, various cranes, cement mixers and concrete barriers occupy precious space all over campus. But alas, a relatively simple solution may actually be right on our doorstep, and it might just eliminate the need of having to go into the merits of whether an underground car park should be constructed on the site of Car Park 6, thereby also bringing an end to a debate that has been going on for too long. Unfortunately, however, this proposal cannot work without adopting the following assumption; indeed, this point is absolutely critical to the working of the entire scheme. Assuming that the white boxes that one currently finds in Car Park 6 are more or less equal to the amount of blue boxes that one finds on the ring road, KSU and the Uni-

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The Insiter  • MAy 2011

versity could lobby for a direct swap of these spaces. In other words, the blue boxes that students currently occupy in the ring road could be made white (reserved for administrative and non-academic staff), while the white boxes in Car Park 6 could be painted blue. This would leave the students with the lower level of Car Park 1, Car Park 4, and all of Car Park 6 at their disposal. The most important point here is that all of these car parks are independently accessible and, per se, are not directly linked to other car parks. This means that KSU will be able to implement a system whereby these car parks could be cordoned off by means of barriers being placed at entry and exit points (if separate, such as in the case of Car Park 1 and Car Park 6), or at the designated entry point of a car park (as is the case with Car Park 4). With the barriers in place, students would then be asked to purchase a parking card from KSU, which would be valid either for the duration of a scholastic year, or else for a period of two years (in a similar manner to the current sticker system). The only difference is that this card would be available against a fee imposed by KSU. I propose that this would be around €50. So as to not set back students financially, this could also be smart card refundable. In this manner, KSU would curb abuse of the system (where it is often the case that non-students park in blue boxes), as well as generate a source of income, which could, for example, be directed towards a fund that could eventually, over the years to come, generate a sufficient percentage of money forthe eventual construction of the aforementioned multi-storey car park. Furthermore, if one had to consider, this would probably reduce the amount of cars being driven to University, as some would refuse to pay the stipulated fee, meaning that alternative modes of transport or even car pooling would be used more frequently, keeping in line with the Government’s aims. While this proposal might not be too popular, it seems that everyone stands to gain from the implementation of such a scheme, or something similar. Gone perhaps will be the days whereby the majority of us will have to come to University at 8am for a 10 o’clock lecture. And finally, at long last, there will be a situation of controlled parking.

OPINIONS

Matthew SALIBA

Making ends meet:

Students’ part-time jobs L

ife is about making ends meet. What really matters is the way this is done. No person is a replica of another. Diversity colours life. Students have their own conventions and habits. When they finally graduate, everyone has completed a course at the same university, but their experiences as students vary considerably. To get a rough idea of the situation, I asked around at the University of Malta. I asked students whether they had part-time jobs. If so, what are they and why? I heard many accounts. Some students also referred me to others or recounted stories they knew about other students. I believed most of the stories. I inquired more deeply into the ones that intrigued me or seemed exaggerated. I was previously under the impression that all students had part-time jobs regardless of the time of year. However, exceptions always exist. Most students laughed at the idea of living solely off the meagre but indispensable monthly stipend. Nevertheless, I found one or two who admitted they not only lived all year round off the stipend but also managed to save a considerable amount of it. I was impressed by the surgical precision with which a particular student divided his monthly stipend to suit his needs. He subtracted €40 every month to spend on weekends, with €10 for every weekend. He lives in Msida, does not pay bus fares and brings his own lunch from home. He uses the rest of the stipend for other expenses or emergencies, and saves at least €20 a month. Few students manage to find jobs which are related to their studies. The most frequent areas are: finance, economy, and reporting. Part-time jobs in

teaching, translating, and web designing also feature prominently. Most students opt for jobs which have nothing to do with their studies. The reason given by many is that it is difficult to find a job related to one’s line of study. The common jobs include waiters/waitresses, sales people or promoters,and child carers. Most of the students stated that they work for the money. Some said they also work to gain experience even though their jobs are not related to their studies. The majority of students find summer jobs and stop working during the winter in order to be exclusively dedicated to their studies. Hardly any students study and work during the winter and simply relax during the summer. The customary incentives for working are to save up for holidays abroad, buy a new laptop, console or games, go partying, buy clothes or a car, or save enough to go on an Erasmus exchange. Some students are not so fortunate as regards choosing whether to work or not. Some circumstances in life leave no place for choice. Students who are parents or single parents work all year round to keep up with expenses. Studying while bringing up a child is tough. Parents who are also students say that their trick is time management. They have to fit everything into 24 hours whether they like it or not. I met an incredible student who is also a soldier and a father. At least once a week he gets hardly any sleep because of the night shift. With great determination and endurance he makes the effort and finds the time to be a student and, above all, a father. No matter the circumstances, at the end of the day, students manage to make ends meet.

insiteronline.com

21

illustration iella

The Whistle blower

22

U

p until a few weeks ago, campus appeared alight with election fever. It made me smile to walk through the Quad in the gorgeous spring sun, and be met with what looked like the best of campus life. There were giant bean bags, WiFi, and music playing. It felt good!

The turnout of voters in the ksu elections was dismal once again. But just in case you’re living under a rock, 1,808 votes were cast. If that represented a healthy percentage of the (apathetic!) student population, parking on campus would be a breeze.

Along with all this there were plenty of manifestos, posters, and four-sided signs on a stand: glossy, colourful, large, and useless, and so reminiscent of the billboards we see around general election time. It was borderline disturbing. This was all part of a student organisation’s electoral campaign (read: propaganda). The same campaign included, as one of its projects on re-election, the “installation of photovoltaic cells to provide students with electricity in the green area”. Very green indeed.

On an unrelated note (or is it?)

I’m not saying that the individual proposals are invalid, or wrong, or that no good work was accomplished by recent ksu teams, however, I cannot refrain from criticising those who contradict with their actions the very principles they claim to employ with their words. This inevitably leads me to the troubling thought that our ksu is the training circuit of one half of tomorrow’s politicians, because they need practice before they venture into the real playground, our Parliament. One might argue that, in the long term, if these fancy, highly expensive, and non-environment-friendly campaign tools result in the re-election of sdm then it’s a worthwhile investment. To that I would answer: that only holds if one makes the assumption that more good will result with sdm in office, as opposed to, say - horror of horrors - getting some fresh blood, some new minds, and daring voices. But clearly, that was not to be.

The Insiter  • MAy 2011

On Sunday 10 April, the front page of one of Malta’s most prominent newspapers announced, “Malta ‘discriminating’ against same sex couples – Commission”. It went on to explain how the European Commission is pushing to ensure that the EU’s Freedom of Movement Directive is respected in all Member States, such that civil unions and marriages of couples, including same-sex couples, obtained in one Member State are respected in all the others. The Maltese politicians who actually did respond to this opened their mouths only to reassure us that this went against our ‘public policy’, and our representatives in the European Parliament would do their utmost to prevent this. How very wise. How very rational. Good-hearted, generous, love-thy-neighbour-as-thyself Catholic Malta, fanning the fire of bigotry, homophobia and festering ignorance. Whatever strays from the stagnant perception of what is familiar must be abnormal. This is the curse of the closed, and often brainwashed, mind. Just like children playing in a playground, they have not yet realised that they have a brain and should make use of it, for all our sakes.

OPINIONS

freedom Andrew Galea

to reason I

f, rather than use the term ‘atheism’ I can use the word ‘reason’, than let me make it clear from the beginning that I’m not trying to convert religious people to ‘reason’. That would be a frustrating and rather pointless exercise. As the character House says in the popular series by the same name, “If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people”, so I shall abstain. I mean if religion is the “opiate” of the masses as Marx put it, then it would really be like trying to have a discussion with a bunch of stoners. Or it would be like trying to relate the complexity of a Salvador Dali painting to a blind person; it is “blind” faith after all, and they hold their blindness up as a virtue. No, what I am here to lament is how that blindness to reason infringes on the basic human rights of those who are not part of the club. What club? Well in Malta it is the Catholic club, a club that most people are born into, and that is legally recognised as the official identity for all Maltese. As a baby you are baptised and raised to believe in everything the club says, and do everything it dictates, because this same club is the way, the truth, the source of moral guidance, and what society really needs. It leads you to God. That is why it plays such a firm hand in law-making, in civil rights, in education, and so on. It’s actually much like a political party (save for the God bit), and it’s hardly surprising therefore that in Malta you are also born into a Labour family or a Nationalist family, as well as a Catholic family. Not much of a choice there, but then again I think the Maltese are afraid of choice, given that decisions were always made for them by bigger occupying civilisations throughout history. Hence, they don’t allow their children a choice either. Of course as people pursue further education they develop a broader perspective on politics, such that people stray from one familial party loyalty to another, which is a start. Sadly, rather less is offered in our formative years by way of other perspectives on religion. In the UK, a Humanism GCSE has just been introduced, an alternative way to live free of any clubs. No such luck here. If you live in a country

that calls itself Catholic then by default those of us who do not subscribe to the Catholic system or in some way move tangentially to it are considered outsiders. Malta leaves no room for alternatives. This was made especially clear last year when our President George Abela welcomed the Head of the Catholic Club (he lives in the big headquarters in Rome) who is, incidentally, a former Nazi youth. Simultaneously addressing him and the Maltese in the same breath, the President declared that the Maltese were defined by their strong core family unit (sorry all you single parents and homosexuals, you’re simply not part of this country!), and that it was Malta’s duty to fight secularism (the separation of church and state). What this means basically is: if you don’t believe in our god, if you don’t submit to our rules, life here is going to be very hard for you. It means that we will continue to deny our children the right to choose whether they believe in a god or not. We will continue to discriminate against homosexuals (although the EU is taking Malta to court for that), and we will continue to discriminate against single parents, because those are the club rules. In truth, I am bemoaning the theocratic state we live in and asking that those of us who do not agree with it be given the right not to. The right to choose is a fundamental human right. In Malta we’re still trying to determine women’s rights, gay rights, single parents’ rights, children’s rights, and so on... I just want to add non-believer’s rights to the fray. I guess I’m asking for the freedom to be who you are (so long as you’re not hurting anyone else); the freedom to prefer reason over blind faith. The right to reason!

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23

interviewing mr president Albert camilleri caught up with newly-elected KSU President, Stefan Balzan. What was your first impression of ksu and student politics? I found out about ksu when, as the President of St. Aloysius College Sixth Form Council, I pushed for us to be KPS observers. I believed that we would benefit from learning how policy is made at University. I always saw ksu as a bridge between the administration and the entities, such as the government, and students. When I entered University, I realised ksu wasn’t just about representation, but a council which also affects students’ everyday lives. I consider student politics as a healthy competition between different sets of ideas, as indeed was the last ksu election campaign.

photography chris vella (www.flickr.com/chrisvella)

For how long had you been considering running for ksu President?

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To be honest, I hadn’t been thinking about it for very long. This is because I had a vision for sdm as an organisation and felt I still had a lot to offer to the organisation. Moreover, I didn’t have any personal aspirations, but simply wanted to be in a position where I could make a change and be of service. I believe that ksu is an organ which requires experience and know-how, and one cannot go into it without knowing exactly what it entails. In my years at University I was mainly involved with Insite, sdm, and some ELSA committees. Only after four years can I say that I am now prepared to be in ksu, especially as President. You need experience of how things work and a level of maturity to be able to tackle the policies within the structures. I felt honoured when I was chosen as president, and I’m now really excited for exams to finish so that I can start my work within ksu. What was your biggest achievement and biggest failure as sdm President? I’m proud of successfully rebranding the organisation and giving it a 2010/2011 look, as well as managing two electoral campaigns. My biggest failure is that unfortunately, after a very good campaign at Junior College, which was very rich in substance, we did not win the KSJC elections. Our message, I think, is not getting across at Junior College.

The Insiter  • MAy 2011

Election results are very close. If I were to pinpoint why sdm has been successful in being elected for ksu but not KSJC, I would say that at University a number of concrete projects have been carried out in the past years, and students can see the work done by ksu. This track record is definitely a plus. Also, proposals are given more weight at University. What, in your opinion, are the ‘failures’ of the present ksu system? This year, student organisation PULSE boycotted the ksu elections once again, arguing that ksu did not keep their promise of establishing a new electoral system that achieves the consensus of all parties involved. In a letter to Insiteronline, Glenn Micallef (PULSE President) quoted Jacques René Zammit (the person responsible for reforming the present ksu body) as saying that the current ksu structure did not work, as “young aspiring politicians will either abuse of the system to please their masters or because it pays them”. First of all, I did not agree with Pulse’s boycott. Had there been a huge amount of people who wanted a change in the system, they would have attended the Annual General Meeting, discussed the electoral system, and voted democratically. We would have respected their decision. Last December, Pulse contested the Junior College elections with the same system present at University, and back then they seemed to forget about their proposed electoral system. The AGM is the most powerful organ, and it provides all students the opportunity to amend or change any procedure or function within the ksu structure. The 3000 students or so who signed Pulse’s petition did not show up at the AGM, which shows that they do not feel strongly about it. As sdm we believe that the current system is the ideal and most democratic system that complements the ksu Executive. Having said that, discussion is always healthy, and in my position as ksu president I am more than willing to discuss matters. However, we have to keep in mind that we do not have the right to say that all students want a system over another simply because two or three organisations agree. With regard to the quote by Jacques René Zammit, this was a snippet out of a very long conversation, and the other parts were arguments in favour of the system. First-past-the-post is the ideal and best system to be elected in an executive. It gives the student a direct influence

FEATURE

and power on who they want representing them in each post on the ksu executive. It is not the case that if sdm gets most votes then the whole sdm team is elected. The system works on a separate election per candidate. Thus, the student can vote for the particular candidate who they think would be ideal for a particular post. There were a number of students (287) who voted for both Moviment Liberali and sdm candidates in the recent election. I do not think that the system is being used badly by so-called “aspiring politicians”. After all, organs like KPS and KE are structures that provide a system of checks and balances for whatever ksu says or does. With such low turnouts at elections, can you still say that you represent all the students? First of all, even though just above 10% voted, a wide majority voted for sdm, which is an evident display of faith in our candidates and our proposals. We are trying to reach a wider audience and overcome student apathy, which isn’t just about elections, but a University widespread feeling. Students are not actively participating in student life but sticking to lectures. Trying to increase participation by working together with other organisations is one of the issues we will try to tackle during this year. What reasons and solutions can you give for student apathy?

Would you agree that ksu has lost some of its power and relevance today? I do not think that ksu has lost its power. Having said that, ksu must try to be less of a reactive organisation, and be more of an active one. ksu shouldn’t wait for something to happen and then comment about it, but rather be the one initiating student debate and acting on behalf of students. What will be the greatest challenge for you personally and for ksu in the coming year?

The biggest challenge for me personally is that of bringing together thirteen people who have different ideas stemming from different backgrounds into one finished product that will benefit all students. The challenge for ksu is to add to the active student population and make ksu more relevant to the rest of the students. Do you have any final comments? ksu is there for every student. Do not feel as though you do not need ksu, or think that it is not relevant to you. We will always be there to help you in every situation. We will be giving our 200% to make sure that every student feels proud to be a uom student, and feels he/she is part of a community which is there to represent students no matter what. I want to be remembered as the president who was able to re-spark life on campus, and the one who successfully represented every student within the University structures.

insiteronline.com

photography james spiteri

I can give two reasons. The first is geographic. Students do not stay on campus. Many either have part-time jobs or else go home straight after lectures. The second is recruitment, which perhaps wasn’t tackled well enough. We have tried reinventing recruitment, and student participation did actually increase slightly. We need to engage people in discussion and activities. Organisations aren’t the only solution to solve the problem, but are a good starting point. The current pyramid-like structure of ksu isn’t a factor which is detaching people in my opinion, but rather increasing participation, as applications for faculty student representatives are open to everyone. Similarly, anyone can join student organisations.

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david debono

have the

summer

of your

life S

ummer means different things to different people. For some it’s a chance to relax after a stressful year at university. For others it’s time to travel. No matter what summer means to you, it usually brings about the same problem for students: the issue of cold, hard cash. So why not earn some cash while having the time of your life this summer? I’m here to tell you about the wonderful life of an activity leader. Leading is fun. There’s no other way to describe it. The past two summers have been, without a doubt, the best of my life, having worked for ef Language Travel. I have no doubt that this coming summer will be no different. I don’t know what it is, but something about the company keeps pulling leaders back, year after year. Be it the day excursions to Valletta or Mdina, or the night activities like the beach parties or private barbeques, there’s always something that attracts people to this job. There’s always a world of fun waiting. And of course, there are the absolutely amazing people that you will meet and the friends that you will make. The main role of an activity leader is exactly as the name implies: to lead a group of foreign students on activities. The day is divided into three parts: morning, afternoon, and evening. Your group of students will attend school either in the morning or afternoon, giving you a couple of hours of free time. The rest of the day is spent carrying out various activities, and since you work as part of a team with a foreign leader, you get to choose which activities you want to go to. Day activities include excursions to Valletta and Mdina, an all-day tour around the island of Gozo, and spending a day relaxing in the sun at the beautiful blue lagoon in Comino. Then, of course, there are the absolutely astounding night activities. These range from amazing parties to relaxed nights. Be it the biggest event of the summer, the ef Summeranza – a huge party held last year, where world-renowned dj Bob Sinclar was invited to dj –the beach parties held at Ġnejna bay, the boat parties on the way to Comino, or the huge, open air parties held at Popeye’s Village, there’s always something going on.

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The Insiter  • MAy 2011

Parties aren’t your style? Not a problem! Other night activities include the more relaxed barbeques at the exclusive ef beach club, a relaxing swim by night, and a night of Badger Carting. ef organises activities to cater for everyone’s tastes. It’s not all about the job though. Working with ef Language Travel has introduced me to some of the most amazing people I have ever met. All the staff is warm and friendly. Ask any leader and they will tell you it feels just like belonging to a family. Member of the senior staff are always at hand to help, and are extremely supportive. Sometimes you’ll actually forget you’re dealing with your bosses, and you’ll start thinking of them as your friends. You’ll develop friendships with people from all over the world. Last September I had the opportunity to travel to Copenhagen, where not only was I reunited with my students, but was invited to stay at my foreign leader’s apartment. The company is always looking for leaders, so if what you’ve read appeals to you and you want to have the time of your life this summer working alongside some of the best people not only in Malta, but across the world, log on to www.ef.com/maltajobs and apply for the job.

FEATURE

diy-er 4 life liz mallia

H

ave you heard that diy is the new sex? It isn’t really, but I knew it would get your attention. For many, diy probably evokes images of Dad struggling to put up a shelf, but diy (Do-It-Yourself) can be applied to a much broader field, including cooking, handicrafts, and even fashion design. It usually involves taking the time and effort to do something yourself, like cooking biscuits, rather than taking shortcuts, such as buying biscuits, partly to save money but also for pure enjoyment. diy arts and crafts have been very popular for a few years now. With the rise of websites like Craftster, Chic Steals, and Threadbanger as forums and resources for fellow creators, along with the popularity of costume making and customising, diy seems to have grown increasingly accessible. Blogs like Chic Steals, and Love Megan, and the video tutorials of Secret Life of a Bionerd also contribute to the thriving diy movement, and let’s not forget magazines like Burdastyle and Women’s Weekly, which both have been around for decades, giving guidance and inspiring thousands of diyers. There is certainly no lack of resources for anyone wanting a new hobby or some instructions. So, why diy? Well, according to Threadbanger, diy is cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying mass produced products. Their projects more often than not use items sourced in charity shops or organic materials. Not only do you recycle and reuse, but you also gain “independence from corporately mass produced c***”, as former Threadbanger host Corinne Leigh puts it. diy is also a great way to stand out from the crowd. Whether you make original designs or imitate designer accessories and clothes, you will be able to create a very unique look for yourself. The ego boost you get from being asked, “That’s so cool-where did you get it?”, and replying, “I made it”, isn’t bad either. You can also use diy to make pocket money. Last December I was commissioned to sew skirts for my sister and her friend for them to wear at their school concert. With a little help and many hours of sewing later, I’d earned myself more money than I would have made for an hour’s work at my old job. The local craft fair Patches and etsy.com are shining examples of the thriving trade one can make from diy arts and crafts. This niche market is also known as indie-fashion, which seems to be thriving abroad with indie labels like From Somewhere Clothing, Gibbous Fashions and Compai, which frequently use recycled materials for their projects. Even costume-designers on films have been known to do so: the designer for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button found vintage items for the principal actors to wear.

As for me, you will often find me searching the Internet for new projects, including researching costumes (especially those designed by Colleen Attwood, who is one of my many idols). diy is a great hobby for me: I can do it from the comfort of my room, it isn’t too expensive, and it’s good to feel that I’m doing something positive for the environment (reusing and recycling means less unwanted clothes and fabrics being thrown out). Want to diy?

1. Find some instructions or tutorials to get you started. I highly recommend Threadbanger, Cut Out + Keep, and Chic Steals, but there are many craft magazines and books available. There are also a number of places in Malta that offer courses, such as the Malta Society of Arts and Commerce.

2. Search for materials in charity shops or car boot sales. You will be surprised at some of the gems you’ll find.

3. Keep a sketchbook with you to jot down your ideas and designs in.

4. Sometimes supermarkets like LIDL stock craft supplies. LIDL occasionally stocks sewing machines (WARNING: get there early, and don’t go alone). It also stocks paints and craft tools.

5. Haberdashers and bazaars are also good places to find inexpensive materials and tools. Such a shop shouldn’t be too hard to find.

6. Keep a diy blog. Your work will get publicity, and it’s a good way of getting to known other diyers.

7. Imagination is the limit. This is corny, but true. There is an almost infinite list of techniques to try: wet-felting, knitting, sewing, crochet, pottery , pottery using polymer clay, beading, filigree, weaving, book-binding, papier-mâché, fashion design, costume design, embroidery, leather-working, millinery, screen-printing, dye and tie-dying, appliqué… I think you get the idea. Liz Mallia can be found at ribcruncher.blogspot.

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31

Personality

of the month:

jay zinga Lecturer by day and DJ by night, Sandy Vella talks to Jay Zinga to discover if his two worlds ever collide.

Most people know you as Jay Zinga, can you tell our readers your birth name? How do your students address you? My birth name is John Micallef. Jay Zinga is the alias I use in art. The ‘Jay’ is actually a nickname ‘attributed’ to me by a group of informants who I studied as part of my MA. The ‘Zinga’ part was inspired by a Japanese robot cartoon series I used to watch when I was little. I signed up to Facebook/ Twitter/ MySpace as an artist with the name Jay Zinga and it stuck. Most students address me as John. I don’t really mind what anyone calls me as long as it’s not ‘Sir’.

PHOTOGRAPHY sarah falzon (www.facebook.com/hotshoeflash)

Your two professions seem very contrasting, do you ever find that they get in the way of each other?

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I wouldn’t really say they are contrasting. Besides being a tutor in Anthropology at the Uom I also practice applied anthropology. I mostly make and play music by night. I very rarely have a gig on a week night, however, and am very disciplined in getting to wherever I have to be on time (be it a lecture room or a stage), and at putting maximum effort into everything I decide to take up. I guess it all comes down to good time management. It’s a misconception to think that one can only be qualified and professional within a single field of work. I believe that when one is a musician or any sort of artist, he is so around the clock.

What would you consider to be your greatest achievement in your life so far? Completing years of research and writing theses which were well received by examiners and readers and managing to be a ‘good ethnographer’ brought satisfaction. Managing to land an MA degree is of course a considerable feat in itself. Having my tracks played by foreign dj heroes of my youth, travelling to France to play at two of the largest and most widely respected festivals in Europe, and getting a track chosen by Eurosport as soundtrack to one of their 2011 campaigns (Mathematikal’s remix of The Kills’ ‘Cheap & Cheerful’ currently features as soundtrack to a Eurosport advert). I like to think that my greatest achievement is yet to come. I don’t know whether that will take a permanent move to a big city or many more years of learning the ropes, but I’m the kind of guy who thinks there’s always more to be done. What goals do you hope to achieve in coming years in both your job as a musician and in the anthropology and education fields?

When did your interest in music begin? As far back as I can remember, I have always been into music. I come from a musical family. I got my first synthesizer when I was about 10 years old, and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve always kept Michael Jackson, Jamiroquai, and bands like Led Zeppelin and Guns n’ Roses with me, and they influence me until today. Before I even owned a computer, I programmed my own tracks, recorded them on tape, and passed them around to friends. I played in and made records with a number of local bands before joining Jon (my partner in Mathematikal).

The Insiter  • MAy 2011

When it comes to music, I hope that I’ll manage to keep up the recognition I’ve been getting abroad with Mathematikal and as Jay Zinga, and to improve it. As an anthropologist, I hope to be able to carry out more research and contribute to the field. In terms of both music and anthropology, I still have much to learn. I also hope to be able to get hold of a parking permit at University (honestly, I still don’t have one!).

The award-winning band salt has been around and going strong since 2003. Between them, its seven members keep up with studies, kids, demanding careers, and of course their very particular brand of music. When and why was Salt formed? What is today known as Salt started in 2003 (we’re getting old, yes) to provide some music for youth meetings called YWAV. For most of our early life, we were known as ‘Joe and the band’, ‘il-band’, or simply ‘Joe’. At that time, we were mostly doing covers. In 2005, we were asked (through the group) to play in an international festival called Youth Arise. At this stage, we had some original songs which we played. We were received very well, and after we played people asked us whether we had an album, which we didn’t. When we came back to Malta, we started working on an album, and when we came to release the album we settled on the name ‘Salt’. We try, through our music, to share God’s love for us with others, as well as have a good time. We hope we do both well. Who is Salt? Louise Ann Bugeja Tate sings. Together with her husband Pierre, she has three young children. That she manages to sing with the band is a feat in itself. Janice sings, and is also a songwriter and a Social Studies graduate. Joe, who is a father of two, is the keyboardist, songwriter, and backing vocalist. David is the guitarist, who is bald, and notorious for being annoyingly loud and having too many effects pedals. Jude is also a guitarist, who is reserved, and juggles work and studies. Karl is the bassist. He is very passionate about his ideas, and also tries to juggle work and studies. Manuel is the drummer. He’s married and sells houses for a living. Which singles made it to the radio stations, and which awards have you picked up so far? In chronological order: Q&A, Want to be With You, If You Do Not Build, No Life Without You, Jars of Clay, Walk, Star, and Come to You. We won the BMA (Bay

Music Award) for Best Newcomer in 2007, and the Best Band Award in 2008. How do you feel that you are different from other bands? We’ve been unfairly blessed with gorgeous looks, impeccable musical taste, and a virtuosic mastery of our respective instruments...We’re also seven in our band, which makes meeting up for rehearsals, band meetings and gigs a tad difficult, which can be a bit frustrating. However, we’ve been together for so long that the band is like a family to all of us, with all its ups and downs. What’s your philosophy? What inspires you when it comes to writing songs and living your everyday lives? We’re seven people, so our individual philosophies about life and song writing are different. Some of us can manage song writing quite easily, while others need some amount of inspiration. That said, what Jesus said and did forms the benchmark of our values; we might not always reach that standard, but we try. What are your musical influences? Whatever you listen to is bound to influence you in some way, be it Bach, the Beatles or the latest single using Autotune on the radio. Our musical interests are quite vast, but we tend to like good rock and alternative music. Any additional information? Our latest album, Less Noise More Love, is available from all good record shops. We’re also working on a video for our next single, which is somewhat overdue. Our website is saltband.net, and our Facebook page is facebook. com/saltband.

FEATURE

less noise, more love

From Page

to Stage

The idea of setting up ‘Martian Theatre’ came about when a group of friends developed an interest in alternative theatre. They wanted to create their own vehicle in order to do the theatre they enjoyed. Rebecca Bezzina takes us on a journey from the inception of the group to their first performance.

M

artian Theatre was founded in 2010 and is a new and innovative theatre collective in the Maltese arts scene, intended to deliver ‘Theatre that’s…Different.’ It is made up of young and energetic individuals who together want to introduce diverse and highly creative forms of theatre which are less known to Maltese theatre audiences. Martian Theatre is committed to developing theatre which can engage, challenge and entertain audiences of all ages and backgrounds. The main ambition is to guarantee an enjoyable and enchanting experience for the spectators. Martian Theatre was founded by Marta Vella and Ian Muscat, and in time they were joined by Yanika Bugeja and Anthea Xuereb, two individuals who shared their same creative vision. Each member is in charge of a different aspect of the production. Marta Vella, who has been attending the Malta Drama Centre for a number of years, is also the winner of last year’s MADC One Act Play Festival Best Actress Award, and mainly focuses on acting and directing, while Ian is the person behind the group’s technical arrangements and logistics. Yanika Bugeja and Anthea Xuereb focus mainly on PR. However, this time round they’re both taking part in the production. Together, this team of young individuals wants to offer something relatively new to the Maltese theatre goers. Countless scripts were read but none of them seemed adequate for Martian Theatre’s debut. Eventually, the whole team realised that if something so innovative was to be introduced, then a ready-made script would not cut it. Instead, something more original and refreshing and yet

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more challenging had to be done - a wholly new script had to be staged, and that is how “Kelma jew Tnejn” came about. This was no easy task, and many challenges had to be tackled along the way but finally, through pure coincidence, the director of the play, Marta Vella, was tagged in one of Marija Debono’s poems on Facebook. This was the beginning of something new and exciting in many ways. After countless meetings and discussions over coffee, all of Marija’s poems were gathered and studied with meticulous patience. Around ten poems were chosen, and “Kelma jew Tnejn” was born. All the selected poems are simple at face value, due to their composition of short and abrupt lines. But in reality they are no nursery rhymes. The effortless words entwined together create a certain mystic aura and inevitably readers are engulfed by the words, which may leave audiences perplexed and pondering each and every one of them. The rhythm of the poems on stage is broken down, but at times also reinforced by the physical movements of the actresses. Indeed, physical theatre is also introduced in this production. In physical theatre, a highly visual form of theatre, the primary focus is on the physical work of the actors, expressed through the use of their bodies. The action in physical theatre may have a psychological base, or symbolic resonance, and point to an emotional centre. However, the means of expression are always primarily physical rather than textual. In fact, even though rehearsals started in early February, the text was only introduced around the third week of rehearsals. Through physical workshops, all the actresses are made aware of their physicality and their body movements, which strengthen the voiced words on stage. These workshops also helped explore the group’s dynamics. This journey is being documented in a blog by Rebecca Bezzina. For more information www.martiantheatre.com. The all-female cast for the performance, which was held at the MITP in Valletta on 30 April and 1 May, was made up of University students aged 18 to 21. “Kelma jew Tnejn” was directed by Marta Vella, and featured Rebecca Bezzina, Maria Angela Vassallo, Leann Gauci Abela, Anthea Xuereb, Yanika Bugeja, and Rozita Lautier.

present play

for young children This month, a number of B.Ed. (Primary) third year students joined forces to put up a play for primary school children and the general public. Jessica Bugeja was among them.

O

n Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 May, Teatru Qroqq, a group which produces theatre for children, invited the general public to a delightful play in Maltese entitled ItTifla li Waqħet Ġo Ktieb (“The Girl who fell into a Book”). The play was staged at the MITP in Valletta and consisted of a free stage adaptation and translation in Maltese by the Maltese author Trevor Zahra of Alan Ayckbourn’s play The Boy Who Fell into a Book. It-Tifla li Waqħet Ġo Ktieb takes the audience through the thrilling adventures that Marica, the heroine, goes through when she travels through the books on her bookshelf, together with her favourite superheroine, who is called Ċagħkasamm. Both Marica and Ċagħkasamm take a journey through the Grimm’s fairytales, a chess book, and one of Trevor Zahra’s own books called Meta Jaqa’ iċ-Ċpar (“When

the Fog Descends”). Throughout this journey, Marica and Ċagħkasamm are chased by a malicious character, and must overcome various challenging and dangerous situations. The audience was invited to go through these adventures with Marica, during the interactive play which celebrates the power of the imagination. This production also aimed to convey the importance of literature while instilling love for the theatre. The target audience for It-Tifla li Waqħhet Ġo Ktieb was children aged between six and twelve, however, adults who are young at heart were equally welcome. The performance was directed by Marcelle Theuma, and produced by Isabelle Gatt.

culture

University students

In Quest of Beauty:

alphonse mucha (1860-1939)

Annabel Hili reviews the exhibition of the Czech Art Nouveau artist’s works held at the National Museum of Archeology in Valletta (26 February - 15 May), by Heritage Malta in collaboration with the Mucha Foundation. As any art lover will point out, not all art is beautiful, nor is it meant to be. With Alphonse Mucha however, this is not the case. Mucha considered beauty to be a universal value in art and made it his mission to create timeless, aesthetic beauty in all his work. This month, the Salon at the National Museum of Archaeology played host to over 100 works by Mucha in a stunning exhibition dedicated to the renowned master of Art Nouveau. The exhibition featured a dazzling array of beautifully displayed pieces, and included original posters and lithographs as well as jewellery, photographs and items decorated in the iconic ‘Mucha style’. The Salon is a magnificent space, with an imposing high ceiling and wooden floor. It evokes a sense of nostalgia as well as understated elegance, setting the scene perfectly for Mucha’s masterpieces, which were displayed in three sections. The first, entitled ‘Women: Icons and Muses’, featured a number of original posters, including the one that saw the artist catapulted to fame in 1894: ‘Gismonda’, a theatrical poster featuring actress Sarah Bernhardt. Mucha successfully depicts the actress in his typical idealised style, while simultaneously bringing out the various characters that Bernhardt represented on stage. Mucha revolutionised advertising as we know it, and his advertising posters are indeed a sight to behold. He embraced the idea that ‘anything can be art’, and this is evident in his designs for various types of packaging, such as soap boxes and biscuit tins, as well as menus, calendars, and postcards. His consistency in font and format is undoubtedly a branding exercise, something which is still used in modern advertising. Mucha used the female figure as a communica-

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culture tive tool, using an alluring image of a woman to draw the attention of his audience. Mucha’s figures are profoundly feminine, yet lack the decadent boldness of the women portrayed by his contemporaries, such as Toulouse-Lautrec. Mucha depicts a sensuous, charming woman, who simultaneously exudes an air of benevolent serenity and innocence. His women are graceful, poised, and elegant, illustrated in gentle pastel shades which have a hugely striking visual effect. The second part of the exhibition was dedicated to Flowers and Nature, two of Mucha’s greatest sources of inspiration. In fact, practically every single piece on display was adorned with detailed floral motifs and decorated with intricate patterns. Mucha clearly developed his unique style through a careful study of the various natural elements around him, all the while drawing inspiration from folk art from his native Moravia. This part of the exhibition featured a series of decorative panels entitled ‘The Flowers’, which depict four striking figures, each one surrounded by a different flower associated with the Virgin Mary and symbolising purity and love. Mucha transforms his subjects into spiritual creatures by integrating curvilinear leaves, stems, and branches with the figures. His frequent use of halos as

well as mosaic tiles is reminiscent of Byzantine art, another of Mucha’s great sources of inspiration. Beauty, Truth, and Love were the themes of the final section of the exhibition, which focused on Mucha’s later works. These are influenced heavily by Mucha’s journey in pursuit of Spiritualism, as well as his friendship with the French sculptor Auguste Rodin. A small bronze sculpture which Rodin gave Mucha as a gift was also on display. ‘In Quest of Beauty: Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939)’ was, quite simply, breathtaking. It provided a profound insight into the life and works of the artist, as well as his inspiration, influences and background. This was complemented with a collection of photographs and sketches, as well as an audiovisual presentation. The overall effect was impressive, and I for one hope that this will pave the way for similar exhibitions of such a standard in the years to come.

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waste management in malta

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority describes the pivotal role it plays in this area.

Why bother to manage something that one no longer needs? It can vary from paper, plastic, and glass to complex items such as monitors, refrigerators, and vehicles. If these items are not managed properly, the consequences could be loss of potential resources, and there could also be a threat on human health and the environment, such as in the event of leaching of harmful substances into soil and water. The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA), as the competent environmental authority in Malta, aims towards sustainable waste management. It aims to minimise the loss of natural resources, and adverse impacts on human health and the environment. It does this by aiding the government in the drafting of national policy on waste prevention, reuse, recycling, and recovery of waste. Such measures should lead to sustainable waste management. For every 1 tonne of plastic that is recycled, the equivalent of two peoples’ energy use for one year, the amount of water used by one person in two months, and almost 900kg of oil are saved. MEPA assits the government in transposing the extensive volume of eu legislation on waste management and developing it into national legislation. One of the most important eu legal instruments is the Waste Framework Directive, which provides the general framework for waste management in eu Member States. There is also a suite of other legal instruments and Directives focusing on specific waste streams, such as batteries, packaging, waste electrical and electronic equipment, and end-of-life vehicles, as well as on particular waste management operations, such as incineration and landfilling. By now, most of these eu legal instruments have been translated into national law, and the next challenge is ensuring that the legislation is properly implemented. A great deal of importance is placed on the input of the general public. To this end, the authority carries out public awareness campaigns through articles, radio and TV programmes, and consultations with various stakeholders

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in the waste management sector to highlight their role and legal obligations, and also to hear their views on the implementation of legislation. The role of industry and the general public in this sector is crucial, since only through public cooperation can policies become reality. The public must be aware of the consequences of inappropriate waste management, and how it may ultimately cause serious threats, not just to the environment, but also to one’s health. It is important to highlight everyone’s responsibility in separating waste as much as possible so as to increase the rate of recycling. To ensure that the waste which is collected is managed in a way that does not pose a threat to human health and the environment, the authority is responsible for issuing planning and environmental permits. Planning permits relate to the planning, land use, and building of a waste facility, while an environmental permit includes provisions relating to the operations of the facility, such as emission limit values. Once an environmental permit is issued for a waste management facility, the authority carries out periodic inspections of the facility to ensure compliance with the provisions laid down in the environmental permit. In keeping with our eu obligations, the authority monitors the movements of hazardous wastes within Malta, and exports of such wastes from the country. Both internal and transboundary movement of hazardous wastes need to be authorised by MEPA before they occur. In the case of transboundary movements, in addition to the need of a permit by MEPA, permits are required from all the competent authorities of the countries through which the waste must travel and, most importantly, the approval of the competent authority of final destination. In spite of all this, unfortunately, the volume of waste generated is still increasing every year. While all the competent authorities, including MEPA and the central government, are doing their utmost to regulate this area, it up to all of us, the waste generators, to ensure the most important goal of all: to generate as little waste as possible in the first place.

environment

monique agius

Time to bring out the tortoise in you What is this life if, full of care, We have no time to stand and stare? [...] No time to turn at Beauty’s glance, And watch her feet, how they can dance: No time to wait till her mouth can Enrich that smile her eyes began. W.H. Davies

We’re constantly running to some destination, whether this is physical or a metaphorical one. We’re currently living in a fast paced life in which we do not have time to stop and think, and savour the moment. Back in the 1980s, in response to a McDonalds outlet opening in Rome, Petrini, a prominent activist who campaigned against the fast food chain, started off the slow food movement. This movement eventually grew over time to encompass other areas such as slow travel, slow money, slow fashion, slow sex, slow reading, and slow parenting, among others. The slow food movement, as already mentioned, started off as anti-fast food movement. Nowadays, the slow food movement educates the public about the repercussions of fast food, not only as regards one’s health, but also the environment. It also aims to create awareness on how the food is produced, and aims to preserve the local dishes. Instead of a ready made pizza, a person who advocates slow food would prefer to spend five hours preparing a delicious home-made stew. Next time you’re strolling past the Parliament in Valletta, I suggest that you take a left and you should find a slow food restaurant named after the food of the gods: Ambrosia. Slow fashion or retail involves craftsmanship, and will not be affected by seasonal changes. Unlike the current fashion system, which we’re constantly bombarded with (just open a magazine and see how many pages are dedicated to models wearing clothes from X for Autumn/Winter ’11). I wonder how many of us, when buying clothes from a shop think about (1) where the raw material comes from (2) who produced it. Many might not be aware that somewhere someone is working inhumane hours to meet the demand

posed by the so-called developed countries. (3) is its production sustainable? With slow fashion, craftsmanship is involved, either by supporting local artists who dedicate their time to creating an item, or by opting for fair trade items. Slow retail also involves choosing to upcycle your clothes rather than throwing them away and donating, or buying second hand ones from charity shops. All this is opposed to buying a dress which you ordered from a magazine, only to find that half of your friends own an identical one. The following might come in handy this Summer. It helps to reduce your carbon footprint and gives you a new outlook on travelling. Slow travelling is not about reading as many guidebooks as you can lay yours hands on, or exhausting a five-day holiday by making sure you’ve visited every spot in town. Slow travelling is about connecting with the locals, taking strolls in the place one has travelled to, and leaving possibilities open for whatever comes your way. Landing in mainland Europe and couch surfing as you travel from one place to another being hosted by different people, gives one the opportunity to connect and be immersed in the daily lives of the locals. Opportunities such as WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), also exist, where in exchange for five hours of work a day, one can have free accommodation, apart from reconnecting with Mother Earth. Going back to the poem I started off with, what I find that we’re experiencing in our time is time poverty. So slow down, live moments fully, laugh heartily, fall in love, make love, and truly connect with one another. I am aware that all this might sound cliché, but take into consideration that 2011 may well be our last full year on earth.

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uncle arthur T

oday I’m going to talk to you about my Uncle Arthur. Uncle Arthur is possibly the best kind of person you could ever meet. And there isn’t just one reason for this, simply because Uncle Arthur is, in my opinion, the best ‘all round’ kind of guy there is. “But what makes him such a great guy?” you may ask. You see, Uncle Arthur is a good looking (if balding) man in his early thirties. He enjoys a brisk walk every morning at 6.30 to get his day started, after which he enjoys a cup of decaffeinated coffee. Uncle Arthur then has his 4 minute shower, puts on his well-fitted grey suit and dabs on just the right amount of aftershave. He then drives off in his Polo to his well paid job as an accountant with a reputable accountancy firm, where he enters the car park with just

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Michael Gauci takes a good look at the 2010 volkswagen polo

enough time to get to his office while greeting everyone on the way. And so Uncle Arthur is a smart, well-dressed, middle aged man who is always on time and makes good conversation at parties. He’s somewhat sporty and loves watching a good game of football with his friends, who presumably would trust him with their children’s lives. He’s obviously also great with money, and so you can never go wrong with him.

AUTO + TECH But there is just one problem with Uncle Arthur. Uncle Arthur unfortunately has no “remember-when” stories about him. You all know what I’m talking about: “Remember when Marc passed out during carnival dressed as a hula girl?” That is a “remember-when”. There is nothing in particular which stands out about him, bad or good; no spectacular occasion that defines him. And so Uncle Arthur is sadly forgettable. And this is because Uncle Arthur is the car that he drives. Yes, Uncle Arthur is a Volkswagen Polo. The Polo is probably the best car I have ever driven. I think that it deserves every bit of the Car of the Year Award that Volkswagen just won’t shut up about. But I would never in a million years buy one. And let me clarify. There are those kinds of cars that make you think, “Well yes it’s a great car, but I just wouldn’t buy it with my money.” And in that case you would assume that given a better deal, you might consider buying whatever you’re talking about. But the Polo, as good as it is, falls into the category of, “I just don’t want it.” Let me just stress again that this is a very good car. The build quality is top notch, the chassis offers a great ride, and you even get adaptive steering which alters sensitivity according to how fast you’re going. Inside you get good quality materials, comfortable seats and even space in the rear which, although very slightly cramped, is impressive for the car’s size. The dash is also very much no-nonsense. You only get the kind of extras I like to call essentials, like A/C, headlight adjustment controls, electric mirrors, radio with auxiliary input and a leather steering wheel, gear lever and hand break. On the outside, the car looks well put together; the paint looks sleek and the design is classy without being daring. The subtle chrome detailing also keeps styling in check and, well, that’s about it.

The Polo is probably the best car I have ever driven. I think that it deserves every bit of the Car of the Year Award that Volkswagen just won’t shut up about. But I would never in a million years buy one

If you’re still awake at this point, I applaud you. But this is where I get to my point. This car is the most forgettable car ever made. There will be no “remember-when” moments about it. There is absolutely nothing special about it. There are no bells, no whistles, no smoke, and no mirrors. This car does not stand out from the crowd in any way. I’m not saying that being overly flamboyant is good, I mean just look at some of the options available on the Citroën DS3! But would some more creativity have been so much to ask for? I stopped this thing in a car park for a bit just so I could take in some of the styling cues and soon got bored and started playing around with the remote key. Now, if you hold down the unlock button for long enough, all the windows go down (the back ones only half way). This is when I noticed that when those back windows went down half way, the style appeal of the car doubled. And when a car looks twice as good because its windows are half way down, you’ve got to question the €15,000 price tag. I spoke to a salesman at VW after the test and told him it was a bit of a Plain Jane. His answer to that, and please listen here, was, “Well what about the locking wheel nuts?” and, “there’s even an extra compartment under the boot!” Although my favourite was, “Did you know that you can manually fold the doors mirrors forwards and backwards?” For crying out loud! To most, this review won’t make a difference. And to them I say, go. Go and buy a Polo. It will in no way alter the way people look at you. And that’s exactly my point. Prices start at €13,900. Be my guest.

Talk about performance and you could talk about deceptively capable engines which build speed with little effort to the extent that the little 1.2 litre engine I had in the car I tested could touch 120km/h when I thought I was doing 80 (or so I would imagine, VW). The fuel economy it returns is also impressive.

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tomtom xl2

satnav Nikolai Attard reviews one of the leading portable GPS available at the moment.

M

an has always had an incentive to search for new things and new places. Maps always formed a part of these quests, whether they were searches for treasure or simply for a new place. Since technology infiltrated almost every aspect of our daily life, it was to be expected that maps would be digitised, and I have in my hands today the TomTom XL2. This portable satnav, as they are known, can easily be set up in a car, ranging from a Skoda to an Aston Martin. This beast of a satnav boasts a 4.3 inch screen, which is one of the largest available on portable satnavs. I didn’t find it too intrusive in my line of vision while driving. TomTom had an ingenious idea: they devised a method whereby you can tighten the suckers onto the windscreen, so no matter how many bumps you hit on the road (and in Malta we have many), it is guaranteed to stay stuck. A report found on the BBC News website from the European Commission states, “It is estimated that currently 6-7% of GDP of developed countries, €800bn in Europe, depends on satellite navigation.” Basically, a lot of people depend on satellite navigation for their everyday routines. As soon as you turn it on you are welcomed by two large touch buttons on screen, either to explore the map or to input directions. Even on our little island of Malta the device was able to find streets very easily and direct me correctly. The user Interface is rather simple, set more on a 2-D rather than a 3-D interface, like some of its rivals. The latter looks nicer as you can see buildings, but has the downside that sometimes the satnav slows down and misses crucial turns.

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Getting back to the TomTom, it is a very simple interface, however, despite its simplicity, it can be very easy to get lost in the mass of menus. Another con is that however lovely a 4.3 inch screen is to look at, it just drains the battery, so I don’t think it can really be called a portable satnav, and is more like a plug and play satnav. I sometimes tend to drive with a lead foot, and the satnav alerts me when I’m being a little naughty in this regard, as the speed it registers flashes red. It also alerts you when speed cameras are near by, and how close they are. No matter how good a portable satnav is, there is always something more portable. More and more people are using their phones’ in-built satnav to get them around. A report found on the Reuters website states, “In February, 21.1 million consumers in five large European markets - Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Italy - used their mobile phones for navigation, 68 % more than a year ago, comScore said.” So shall I dare say that the satnav has already died out before it was really introduced in Malta? I can highly recommend the satnav for long journeys, as the TomTom will be faster at finding the many points of interest and keeping you on track, but if you only want to use a map to find where the closest bar is, go for your phone’s in-built service.

Sport

blue? Red?

Black? During the winter months, when the temperature is low and mountain tops are covered in snow, skiing and snowboarding are well sought after sports in many countries. Kristina Cassar shares her skiing trip experience.

This year, my family and I flew to Italy and made our way to Bergamo, more specifically Monte Campione, a skiing resort in the middle of the grand and absolutely majestic Alps. The complex is situated on a part of the mountain which is of quite a substantial height - 1800 kilometres to be exact and boasts long and wide stretches of snow-infested terrain that are ideal for beginners, the experienced few, and ultimately the professional dare devils that can’t help but shock you on their descent from the mountain’s peak. Such mountains are exceptional for bettering your skiing or snowboarding skills alike, and provide the most gob-smacking scenery. During my stay in this skier’s paradise, I made an effort to ask, with horrible Italian grammar might I add, my Italian ski instructor to expand on his views on the sport. Since this was done on our way up to the Red slopes via chair lift, not only was he able to explain through speech but also visual aid. He explained that Blue slopes, those set for beginners, are flatter and longer with few vertical slopes and usually feature a ski lift that would gently pull you up the mountain. Red slopes are longer in duration and look slightly more intimidating than they actually are. In my experience, a Red slope is quite easy to conquer once you set aside fear and worry and focus on the piste and your actions. Red slopes though are abundant in stunt junkies and adrenaline addicts that more often than not give you quite the scare.

Last but by no means least come the Black slopes, a bunch of steep peaks all clustered together like those on a freshly baked meringue, where the temperature is bitter and the vertical drops are daunting. Ermanno, my instructor, claims that he and other members of the ski school to which he belongs ski down such extremities without difficulty. If the piste is challenging, most mountain tops feature cafes and restaurants where a wonderful view can be experienced. Both skiing and snowboarding are a fantastic way to spend your free time during the winter months, should a mountain and snow be available. Even though skiing is tiring both physically and mentally, I can’t help but admit that it is sinfully addictive and the only reason I am writing this while on holiday is because the slopes are closed due to thick fog and consequently poor visibility. Having left spring-time Malta pale and merely a Blue slope skier, I can return having conquered the glorious Red slopes of Monte Campione with an ambitious grin on my newly sunburnt face.

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CLASSIFIED Natural Law and Natural Rights, John Finnis Condition: brand new Original price: €36.45; Selling for: €15.00 A History of Medieval Philosophy, F.Copleston Condition: brand new Original price: €25.98; Selling for: €10.00 Philosophy of Social Science, Benton & Craib Condition: very good Original price: €22.95; Selling for: €8 Constitutional and Admin. Law, Hood Phillips & Jackson (8th Ed.) Condition: good Original price: €38.78; Selling for: €20.00 Basic Concepts of Criminal Law, FLETCHER Condition: brand new Original price: €19.57; Selling for: €7.00 criminal law, smith & hogan (11th ed.) Condition: brand new Original price: €32.59; Selling for: €12.00

For more information, please send an email to print@ insite.org.mt. In all cases, arrangements can be made to collect the books from University. To include your adverts in The Insiter, please send an email to the same address.

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illustration iella insiteronline.com

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The Insiter, May 2011