I have had enough

Unlike Sicily, Greece and Sardinia we have no space, tree cover, or mountains to compensate for ugly urban sprawl and high population density

Sundays have become challenging days in themselves (Photo: MaltaInfoGuide.com)
Sundays have become challenging days in themselves (Photo: MaltaInfoGuide.com)

There comes a point in Summer when you simply cannot take the island anymore. The combination of the scorching sun, the humidity, the heat, the dust, and the white uninspiring undulating stretches of homes and apartments that define the Maltese landscape become simply unbearable.

Unlike Sicily, Greece and Sardinia we have no space, tree cover, or mountains to compensate for ugly urban sprawl and high population density.

That feeling of shabbiness and squalor is compounded by noise and so-called music until the early hours of the morning, the overpopulation, the cars, the numerous roads under construction, building sites and cranes, and the accumulation of uncollected foul-smelling trash in tourist areas.

There are people who relish in this confusion and anarchy. I have serious problems with it. Some people make it a point to say that summer is simply great. Of all the days in the week,

Sundays have become challenging days in themselves and I for one am unwilling to venture out and get caught in a traffic jam or get cornered in a small patch on a dirty beach or anchored in a bay with blaring music and restless jet ski owners flitting around like adrenaline driven cowboys.

It is not today that Malta and Gozo has become an unwelcoming place to settle down for a quiet moment. Which is why anyone with the means does what is expected of them and depart from the island once and for all.

Those with serious money and means have a choice; they can either live in a secluded farmhouse away from the madding crowd or invest in a boat to leave the island whenever they wish to.

But this does not apply to the vast majority who still love and want to visit a rocky beach and have a swim or take a walk along the promenade or find a secluded spot for a barbeque.

Which is why when we come to talking of gauging success in the country, such as economic success, we need to start factoring in the quality of life.

There seems to be no measure of this in the economic formulae.

Surely, success can also be measured by the type of environment we live in; the amount of free time, quality time, living conditions, time off, participation in sports and other activities, meeting with family and friends, travelling, laughing, not falling sick, eating healthily and avoiding personal confrontation.

If these were criteria for the most successful people, Malta would rate very low in any form of index.

Which is why we need a game changer when it comes to measuring success and which direction this country should take.

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In the next few weeks, media house owners will finally be burying their hatchets and joining forces to lobby as an association in the interests of this industry. We have come a long way to realise that strength only comes about because of unity and numbers.

Undoubtedly, we will be focusing on the measures that need to be taken to mitigate the financial burdens on the industry.

The steps that need to be taken will also focus on the need for brave decisions that will make our operation more sustainable and viable.

In principle, everyone agrees with this. But when it comes to visible deliverables as the good old Richard Cachia Caruana would say, there is much to be desired.

As I write, news has reached media houses that Maltapost will be dismantling its newspaper discounted rates. After a bizarrely timed public consultation process by the MCA from the 4 to 17 August, Maltapost ironically owned by one of the main shareholders of a daily English newspaper (Joe Said of Lombard Bank fame) has announced a measure that will make the postage of printed material in bulk prohibitive and fiscally unsustainable.

It will also impact hundreds of Maltese NGOs who send out printed material to a wider audience. The MCA’s approval of this increase goes to show what a sensitive government we have when it comes to minimising expenses on the media and civil society.

Also, as I write, Joanna Spiteri the Broadcasting Authority’s CEO has refused to revisit the genuineness of the contracted polls carried out for the BA in spite of the false and erroneous audience ratings for all the media houses’ digital platforms.

These and many others will be on the agenda of this new association which will aim to safeguard the fourth pillar in our democracy together with the numerous jobs that come with it.

More on this, in the weeks ahead.