Maltese cyclist handing in his car’s number plates

Joe, a 35-year-old native Maltese citizen is daring to give up his beloved car and make cycling his commuting medium of choice. After getting frustrated in the “back to school traffic” around two years ago, he rode his bike to work and never looked back since.

Joe ended up using his car perhaps twice a week on the weekends. During our interview, he told Word of Osiris that “the cost to keep [the car], compared to the benefits, did not justify keeping the car”. Many react in disbelief to his decision, but after some consideration, they see eye to eye on the matter. He definitely recommends cycling to work for anyone living within 6 to 10km from their workplace. Having shower facilities available would be the cherry on the cake. He added “it only takes me two minutes longer cycling than driving to work in normal traffic. In comparison then [sic], driving to work in the “back to school traffic” take me twice as long as it takes me when I cycle”.

Therefore, Joe is handing over the number plates to his personal car, only keeping a shared family car for errands.

Talking with Joe about cycling in Malta, he sincerely recommends staying sharp while cycling and “kind of expect the worst so you might be able to anticipate a situation before it is too late”. Having said that, he also acknowledges that there are hundreds of motorists who show cyclists respect. He continues by saying that many infrastructural initiatives are “impractical to say the least and at times down right [sic] dangerous”. Joe argues that cyclist safety is always a compromise and never a priority, and when cyclists choose not to use precarious infrastructure they are labeled as downright law-breakers, ending up giving “a wrong message to motorists”.

In a spree of sincerity, Joe told us that he doesn’t think Malta will become a bicycle haven anytime soon. He encourages the practice of teaching children the benefits of cycling and introducing government incentives for employers who install showering facilities in their workplace. With these initiatives we could hope for more bicycles on the road, and the dismantling of the ever-looming traffic gridlock.

As a friend of Joe once asked him “…why on a country so small we [sic] need to go everywhere by car when we are barely the size of a large city”. Cycling helped Joe lose weight, improved his metabolism, while also giving him a sense of accomplishment once he arrives at work.

For the European Mobility Week, try change your habits and explore other alternatives.

Grab your bicycle, and whizz off.


Big thanks goes to Joe for taking time to answer our questions. The whole interview can be viewed here


Featured Image: www.wikipedia.org

What are you willing to do to succeed?

In this day and age, we look at various go-getters and enterpreneurs reciting their stories on how they started with nothing turning into undoubted success. We’re bombarded with it people posting pictures of their lavished lifestyle or their incredible ventures.

It’s safe to say that most would give an arm and a leg for the fruits of success. The metaphor might sound outlandish but how far would you really go?

In 2011, the now infamous Lance Armstrong was being seriously investigated by the USADA, accusing him of doping and drug trafficking. The investigation started on the basis of blood samples results from previous years and the testimonies from witnesses such as former teammates. As all of them do, he denied the claims and kept on doing so until he was under oath. In his admission, he admited of being and I quote “a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted, and control every outcome”. For him, it felt like the right thing to do. He ensured that everyone on the team was on it and they all used he same dopants.

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He was a controlling success freak. Anything for that trophy. The actions of psychopath.

Psychopaths, and to a degree, sociopaths, show a lack of emotion, especially the social emotions, such as shame, guilt, and embarrassment.

Psychopathy could range from ready to kill to doing everything in your power to achieve success. Their cold-hearted attitude with respect to people and rules, would disgust many.

This case was definitely an extreme, but what are you ready to sacrifice for your goals? Are you ready to trade time with your kids to hit those work targets? Would you ever consider investing in your savings to start a business instead of having that dream holiday your partner always wanted?

Striking a balance is never easy, but should be easier when considering your true priorities. Make sure you don’t harm the people or things you take for granted while you’re tunnel-visioned on your so-called path to success.

Silence is Bliss

We are constantly bombarded with information, notifications, and media, forgetting that thoughts need peace to grow.


I am one of those guilty of never switching off, even my dreams are a weird mess.

I wake up check my social media and walk to the bathroom with a Youtube video playing. Even while I’m showering the tablet plays on. Off I go, and next up comes the car radio, where there’s always something to know about.

We’re literally bombarded with news, music, videos and articles. You can spend countless hours starring at your phone’s screen catching up with the socials. Whatever is your daily routine, you’re surrounded and overwhelmed by media.

Not only has the mobile phone robbed us of our friendly chat at the dinner table, but it has belittled our time for thought.

I miss the days where I was able to commute by walk. Especially at night, I used to look up at the clear summer sky and gaze at the starts. Oh how time has changed things.

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credit: pexel.com

It’s important that one gets respite from this modern world. Be it through mediation, walking the dog or just walking alone everyone needs moments for though. Moments where one can stop, to think and observe the world.

After all, thought is what makes us human.

Malta: Cycle to your Grave

A blog is a reply to a post on the now famous Maltese portal Lovin Malta.


For the past year or so, Lovin Malta has been a site which exploded in popularity. This came about because of two reasons, the first being the use of old and new Maltese dank memes and the second by posting relatable topics.

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One of their latest post tackled the relatable topic of dealing with Malta’s traffic problem titled: ‘Creative Solutions To Malta’s Traffic Problem That Are Doomed To Fail

I’ve also posted my ideas on the topic, right here.

The point that possibly triggered me the most was this one here:

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Malta is an island the size of a mainland city, where it’s people think using the bicycle is equal to half a death sentence. Or even worst, that cycling is doomed to fail.

I’ve cycled most of my life, especially in the carefree teenage years and I’m more alive than ever. Incidentally, talking about my teenage years, I’m in Lovin Malta’s cyclist photo; a photo which me and my friend posed for to promote a venture called Malta by Bike which we were about to launch (also used as this post’s featured photo).

Even this fellow from the B.A.G. (Bicycling Advocacy Group, Malta) had something to say:

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All the negative connotations around two-wheeled vehicles never stop on this island.

For me, the mortality risk is of 1/5, therefore a slight probability. For our worried parents and friends it’s a 5/5, basically you’re doomed.

Maybe, just maybe…it’s about time to start promoting alternative modes of transport as a safe respite from all the time we spend stuck in traffic.


P.S.   Small sneak peek, in the future I’m planning to make a video where I commute with my bike for a week. Hopefully this will happen once I finish my studies, only then will I be able to focus more time on making better than ever content.


 

Malta: Hunting & Trapping

For those people who thought you can fly to Malta no problem, you’re wrong. You have to get through the armies of hunters on the island. Well, at least if you’re a bird.


Hunting in Malta is engrained in our culture as much as the cholesterol in our veins.

Anyhow, mainland Europe has been shying away from hunting, a natural step in urbanisation.

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Not here, not us, not Malta. Surely more people are against hunting than ever before. Yet, the so-called hobby has yet to die down.

In a very recent referendum on hunting, it passed by a small margin, enabling spring hunting to continue.

Sad, very sad indeed. It was a shock to every modern thinking citizen. But let’s say it’s a hobby we have to accept, and with it this keeps going on:

Protected bird shot – just three days after start of hunting season

Ye, you’ve guessed it, old Malteser doing what he pleases. It’s not even a one off thing, as far as I know. last year was one of the worse years in regards to illegal hunting/trapping in quite a while. The immorality of it all makes me sick. If you want to shoot birds and have the government’s blessing to do so, just leave the protected birds alone.

Some hunters even have the audacity to tell you that they’ll shoot anything that flies; or trap any bird of value no matter the method. Disgusting.

I don’t get it, why should we allow this even in the face of numerous illegalities. Referendum vote or not…

just make it stop.


Men in 2018: the weaker sex?

The evolution of men


In the not so distant past, men had an important place in society. In politics, they defined the world and where it was going. In our homes, they were the bread winners, which would come from work to rest and spent some time entertaining the family. Men were also the muscle of our workforce.

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I grew up in a family where my dad was the man of the house, and he still is. Mum’s opinion was always a second. Nowadays men are seen as equal to the women, as it should be. Times have changed.

Thoroughly glad with this change and many men like me, have embraced it too. We cook, clean and do bits and bobs around the house. We help around because nowadays we both have the same lifestyles and routines.

Yet, there is still a category of women which still want to be the queens of the house, and end up telling off any effort a man does especially when cleaning around the house. We are always seen as less competent in our homes, as women were seen decades ago in other sectors of society.

Just this morning a colleague saw me clean the table we’re about to dine on and said “I think I never seen a man so competent in cleaning.” I thanked her for the compliment, but deep inside I felt hurt.

We’re hurt because our new role in the house is looked down upon by judging women.

“A man can never clean like a woman.” or “I don’t like how my husband cleans, I usually just redo it.” are all words I hear much too often being said.

There might be some truth in all of it. You still hear of men that still have the ideology of ‘women in the kitchen, men at work’ even though an ever-growing number of females have joined the work force. They lazy off and leave it to the able women, to the women’s detriment.

This is where our sense of duty as men should kick in, just as it would do at any other task. Women have been doing this for years now.

Not to be sexist or anything but in my eyes, I think women are much better than us. I’ve seen it in the way they can organise, the larger number of women in university than men (at least in Malta), and their determination in being something better.

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A sign used in the war but a symbol of women power even till this day.

While men expect to have a place of authority like they have always had, women are working hard at it and pretty much are owning what they deserve.

All of this boils down to where does the strength of men lie in this day and age. Our ability to work most manual jobs makes the sector still in our ballpark.

Alas, is that it?

How can we make more men continue studying even to the tertiary level? Will men to be the kings of the mop? Are men ready to change into something better for our families and society overall?

Comment below and tell me what you think!

 


 

What happened to Malta?

What did little and humble Malta turn into?


“Malta hanina, hobz u sardina” our neighbours used to say. Literally translated reads, Malta’s merciful, bread and sardines. Our nation was a peaceful, always ready to help and loving lot.

With time, this mediterranean welcoming vibe has turned in a colder more mainland feel. We embraced the internet,  the foreign culture and manners that came with it. Now, it’s improper to talk to strangers on a bus and having a pool is a mark of success. We lost one of our old marketing  points.

That’s not all, quite recently I clicked on the trending suggestion, Malta, in my Twitter. The first three posts that came up were frightening:

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Accusations of money laundering, claims of corruption and rich Russians buying our EU passports.

Don’t take me wrong, I wasn’t looking for all of this. After watching a clip of an American show where Malta was advertised as a great holiday destination, I wanted to see how people reacted to our country.

Again it is not all doom and gloom, Valletta was crowned as the European City of Culture for 2018. Many changes have been done to the city.

The old butcher market was turned into an all new food market. Have yet to visit it. On the day I check my twitter, there was also the official opening of the refurbished Triton fountain and a new open area just in front of the city gates.

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Was expecting loads of positive press about the whole thing and yet, stories that are now months old are still being dug up and new controversial ones keep coming.

This whole city regeneration project is one of many good things and yet…

I just wish we go back to our honest roots, and be a country where everyone wants to live in and love to visit.

When I was little boy, Malta didn’t have all these ambitious economic plans, but with growing ambitions, came immorality. We sold our passports for money, just to mention the obvious one.

We are still giving up our Outside Development Zones (ODZ) land to investor that bribe/support our government. Read for yourselves, we’re crushing our virgin land in an already over-developed island. Still looks stunning to be honest.

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Crime has been left unchecked for ages and will continue to spread if we don’t take stand. Law enforcement is underfunded and lack the means to help our growing population.

I feel compelled to say the truth. Malta has kept its patterns of the past such as corruption and nepotism, which are now merging with the tolls of a growing economy. The latter includes an increase in rate of crime and dealing with a huge influx of economic immigrants.

While I have nothing against immigration, low-income migrants can turn to crime. Some also bring with them a physical violence culture, which we are not used to.

We need to make our country great again, without resorting to scrubby old dirty tactics. Malta deserves better than this. Let’s make this country just and safe again. Let’s make Malta a diamond in the Mediterranean we claim it to be.

The New Point Penalty System in Malta

It’s unbelievable how they managed to skip the basics.


It goes without saying that our islands of Malta needed some tough love with regards to our roads. This point system was something we badly needed, just to scare off the one too many ‘kings of the road’ we meet day in, day out.

Nonetheless, I feel this is just the start. Many important issues, like drink and driving, that have been taken a bit too lightly are being focused. We’re in the right direction and there is only to praise then it came about.  Some of my constant rants are being heard and you would think that these measures should really make a difference.

Yet, we seem to forget all about the ‘modern’ ideologies.

Where are the contraventions to teach our general public about manners on the road?

Will anyone be penalised when running a zebra crossing with pedestrians waiting to cross?

Who will be the enforcer of greater respect to motorbike riders?

What about those drivers who pass all too close to a humble cyclist?

Basically, where is the system to kickstart our apprehension towards citizens who dare not use their private cars?

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Alas, drivers shouldn’t be the only ones responsible for clearing up the mess.

Many pedestrians roam like headless chickens, some of them walking in the middle of the road, even though pavements are just a few metres away. Others cross without looking, often with headphones on.

My favourite is this one elder who I frequently find him slouching on a pavement railing with his arse bulging into the passing cars’ path or as you’d call it, ass in the middle of the road. Wish I had some pictures of this charlatan hero, cause it’s unbelievable.

These pedestrians can’t be included in the new point system, but I think it’s about time we started pushing out a mentality of pedestrian duties and mutual respect.

All in all, we’re a careless populus. Most people know what’s right, we just need to punish wrong-doings for a better, harmonious, and safer place to live.

 

Horoscopes – my view

Horoscopes and my view of them in our modern world.

For the longest time, my mum told me that my star sign is Cancer. I always took it as true, only as I grew older I found out that I’m an actually an Aries.

It’s funny because growing up I always thought that horoscopes always have something interesting to say about me. Once I got to know that I was wrong all along the way, it was clear to me that these are a scam.

To this day, my parents have fun watching the Horoscope on TV. The horoscope guy usually says “Don’t believe but verify.” Personally, I think it’s witty for them to do that.

Validation leads to fitting things that happen to suit the astrological prediction. We do it all the time with our point of views. It’s seeming rare to accept blame and very frequently blame others, for example, while driving.

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Self-fulfilling prophecy is another behaviour that would be happening to any sort of believer. If the horoscope predicts that you’ll gonna meet your love of your life over the weekend, you’ll probably shave, get all pretty/handsome and make sure that you won’t miss that chance.

What you’re in fact doing is getting influenced, and indirectly increasing the chances that the horoscope would be actually true.

What if they truly make my life better even though there is not science actually involved? That’s true, maybe dolling up will get you the love of your life and maybe you’ll do things that you would had never dared doing before.

My advice is to live everyday as if it was your last, chase your dreams and think big.

Personally, I always take these predictions with a pinch of salt. I prefer gazing at the stars than following their advice.