Letters: 3 January 2016

Charity should not be about pageantry 

While charity remains a most commendable trait, one that the Maltese should be more than happy to be associated with, the way this year’s Strina event was put together and presented has drawn some justified criticism. 

The sight of the President of the Republic – an otherwise humble and down-to-earth person – jumping around during the final segment of the programme was not in good taste. One wonders why Her Excellency Coleiro Preca allowed herself to be part of such a charade. Perhaps she was overcome by the celebratory mood of the moment. Or perhaps she doesn’t pay excessive attention to the pageantry of politics and instead focuses on connecting with the people and just getting on with doing her job. 

However, what transpired speaks for itself. Unfortunately politicians are judged for their actions, not their intentions, and the footage isn’t flattering for her at all. One only hopes that future editions of L-Istrina are planned with a bit more care and attention to decorum. 

Another thing. The notion of charity on this island has to change. The idea that we are all a charitable people just because we throw money at a telethon is silly. We need to look at more active ways of contributing to society, and this does not just mean throwing money to the less fortunate. 

It is also quite sad to see just how many families and individuals in need there are on this island, and for some quite basic health needs, too. This reflects the priorities the government should take when it comes to these things. It shouldn’t have to ‘outsource’ its problems in budgeting to charitable events like L-Istrina. 

My hope for the coming year is that our politicians and other leaders realise just how important it is to both retain decorum and to run the country with efficiency and honesty. Tackiness and a reliance of people’s ‘charity’ simply has to go. 

Lorraine Vassallo, St Paul’s Bay

It must be the driest rainy season ever

The heavens seem to be bent on not putting to the test the flood relief works completed this year – this must be the driest rainy season Malta has ever had, with well under 200mm having fallen since the start of the season in September. And no prospects of rainfall seem in sight.

It is a pity. Not only because this rain shortfall is highly damaging to the country, but also because we will be relying so heavily on reverse osmosis water for our needs. And agriculture will be suffering, so farmers who draw their water from the aquifer will be doing so heavily in summer, inflicting more damage to our already depleted natural resources.

I wonder, does the government have any second class water to spare, from the Sant’Antnin water recycling plant? Are any plans being made, if any can be made should the scarcity continue as badly, to distribute some of this water to growers who will surely need it.

Chadwick Lakes must still be dry, I think it takes considerably more than the little rainfall we have had for the dams to fill up and the water to cascade down. Perhaps this will teach us a lesson – the dams need cleaning up badly, they are full of decaying detritus, which must considerably lessen the amount of water they can hold. The upper areas, from down Bahrija hill, can hardly hold any amounts of water at all, they are so gutted with vegetation.

When were the dams last cleaned up? Last summer someone put the bamboo growth on fire, but the blaze did not take hold strongly, because bamboo is green in summer, so not very combustible.

Aren’t we all envious of the copious amounts of water falling in the US and UK, among other countries where they have been seeing severe flooding. The loss of life, and widespread damage, are very regrettable of course. It is a pity such bounty should be accompanied by such awful consequences. I wonder how we would fare in such extreme situations.

Here we are, in winter, with near-parched fields. Fruit will not be so bountiful in spring and summer. Not unless January and February make up for what we did not get in September-December. March is not usually very wet, and we will have to rely only on April showers after that. Which will not be satisfactory at all.

I wonder what’s in store for us.

David Camilleri, Mosta