Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

Odds and Ends

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Sunday, January 1, 2012 by

Tanja Cilia

Author Edith Parzefall mentioned, in passing, how a friend had des­cribed driving in Malta. It was a foregone conclusion that I would send her the link to Maltese Calypso – at which point she said it was “a setting for an action comedy” that scared her, yet made her want to return.

I told her that these days, whereas we do have the odd comedic turn, Maltese TV drama seems to centre on murder, mayhem, and muck.

Having said that, I have to point out a ‘gross’ mistake in one of the so-called funnies. The scene was inside a spaceship, with one of the astronauts being struck by motion sickness (warp speed does that to you). His barf bag was made of paper – and once he was done, he simply chucked it behind his shoulder.

This was not funny; inside a capsule, anything that is not battened down will float around the interior, and it does not need a degree in rocket science to know that.

It is not only Maltese script-writers who do not research their work before touting it in the press, however. Many British papers picked up the tripe churned out by The Sun, which said that astrologer-cum-parvenu-dancer Russell Grant had been asked to sing Malta’s entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. The source, as might have been expect­ed, was ‘a friend’ of Grant, who was also quoted as saying the only Maltesers Grant knew came in a box.

I wrote to several papers that had printed this item, saying they ought to have contacted PBS or ESC Malta to verify the item… it is telling that none acknowledged my mail.

• Monique Falzon is the project manager of a fantastic new project, Media Interact, recently inaugurated under the auspices of SOS Malta and implemented by PBS.

This series of 13 programmes will be aired on TVM and E22 (due to be rebranded as TVM2) in January, February and March. Each episode will focus on the lifestyle and cuisine of different ethnic groups in Malta.

Falzon says that the first initiative in the project is the production and airing of a pilot TV programme called Minn Lenti Interkulturali (‘Through an Intercultural Lens’). Each programme will be 45 minutes long; they will be shot on location, at the homes of the protagonists, each of whom comes from a different country. There will also be informal interviews about the person’s migration and integration experiences. Each recipe in every meal will be traditional – talk about authentic!

The idea behind the series is to take a new view of the world. Some of us attended schools where our classmates were Hindus, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox Christians, and Church of England girls. We might have assumed that natio­nality is country of origin is colour is faith – which is not true at all.

A series such as this will be an eye-opener. Society these days, more than ever, is a patchwork of cultures, faiths, colours, nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, histories, values, customs, tongues, dress, folklore, physiognomies, and why not, cuisine.

Falzon further explains that the programmes aim to promote intercultural dialogue, interaction and exchange. They also aim to provide information about the experiences of integration in Malta and help raise awareness about the positive aspects of cultural diversity.

Women in the workplace features in the most recent Nista’ – Sharing Work-Life Responsibilities campaign. Many reasons are given as to why women should join the workforce – and what holds them back.

Unfortunately, the ‘real reasons’ are being glossed over as ‘other items’. No reference at all is made about how some end up working for one-third of their pay after VAT and tax have been paid, making the whole caboodle more complicated if some of the remaining money has to go to childcare and transport.

• I notice that the term ‘safer sex’ and the even less true one ‘safe sex’ have disappeared from the airwaves. We are not being reminded to “Practise your ABC” – or, in colloquial speech – if you cannot be good, be careful.

Several of my friends have become pregnant even when prophylactics were used. So, since viruses responsible for sexually transmitted diseases are smaller than sperm, what is the guarantee that men and women who do follow these instructions are protected? I have purposely not made any reference to promiscuity from the moral point of view.

• To mark the Day of the Priest, the the Maltese Curia has produced a television spot highlighting a short snippet in the 24/7 life of a priest: www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMnK6AkbHRA&feature=related. It is good that this initiative is being continued; the second in the Live the Faith series of clips shows how music may be used to enhance life and as a means of communication: www.youtube.com/watch?v=SfOa5lZIxW4&feature=player_embedded.

• The first part of Andrew Azzopar­di’s Għandi Xi Ngħid last Saturday featured ‘voices in Maltese broadcasting’. For some reason, Azzopardi failed to ‘invite’ people like Victor Aquilina – which could easily have been done, seeing that overseas / local communication today is much easier than when Aquilina was head of programmes at Rediffusion.

This was an episode where it would have benefitted listeners to have the two parts of the programme with the same subject. Had this been done, we could have heard many interesting anecdotes from the past masters of Maltese broadcasting.

• None of the discussion program­mes ever tackle, politely and systematically, the topic of local broad­­casting. Reference to not-so-balmy days that included sit-ins and lock-outs always degenerates into nit-picking, table-slamming rudeness.

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Tanja Cilia

Freelance Writer

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