When the People Speak

Topless Sunbathing Deck 13

You would be forgiven if you thought that I were about to discuss national and local elections and general voting exercises. I will not be entering into the merits of democracy and the rights exercised every time we fill that ballot. This post is more of an overview of the daily manifestation of the democratic right to speak – translated nowadays into the democratic right to click on an Time Opinion Poll and/or to type a quick email and send it pronto to the editor’s desk.

The People don’t like Hunting

In today’s edition of the Allied Newspaper we read that the vast majority of people voting on an internet poll were keen to point out that they never gave any implied mandate to government for some kind of agreement with the hunters. Unscientific as it is, the survey does show us that, at least among those people with access to internet, who read the Times and who bother to vote on such surveys hunters are not exactly top of the popularity ratings. And neither is Gonzi’s government. Tut tut. Really not a good month for Gonzico.

From the letters pages I was particularly intrigued by a certain Mr Mifsud Bonnici of the St Hubert Hunters Association. The letter is meant to express solidarity with IM Beck’s son for any actions perpetrated. To the intelligent reader the signs of repentance and apology are few and far between. It is as though Mifsud Bonnici had a gun thrust against his head and was forced to write something. In a sort of “St. Hubert Code” he puts not so subtle reminders that this might after all not be the hunters’ problem.

Take this for example:

“We regret that a tiny fraction of the thousands of hunters, possibly under provocation, vented their rage and frustration on innocent people, in spite of repeated calls by the officials of the hunting federation (FKNK) for a peaceful march before and during the demonstration.”

Under provocation? 7,000 men (so they claim), some armed with guns, collectively shouting “Pullicino Pulcinell”provoked by what exactly Mr Mifsud Bonnici? A flash from the cameras maybe? The sight of a policeman in uniform? Hmmm definitely stuff to make you piss in you camouflage underpants.

Or this:

“We understand also I. M. Beck’s anxiety and anger at his son’s ordeal as expressed in his article last Thursday. We also appreciate his instant reaction to those who caused him such aggravation. We trust, however, that I.M. Beck has what it takes to go one better than his son’s aggressors and resist the temptation to emulate them by not hitting at all hunters indiscriminately.”

Not only is MB trying to tell us that the provoked perpetrators are a minority in the hunting legions but he now practically turns his not so contrite apology into an attack. Beck… stop hitting on the hunters indiscriminately… do not stoop so low to the level of the minority group of (provoked) perpetrators. Yep. The Panama Hatted Roundman’s pen doth sting. Picture the hunter in full metal jacket gear begging to be saved from the mighty pen that has been unleashed on his weak and unfortunate soul. Pity them. If you can.

(Some of) The People don’t like Topless Sunbathing

And if you thought that the St Hubert Hunting Man’s letter was pathetic… see what Mr Joe Zammit of Paola has to say:

As far as I know, all over the beaches of our islands it appears clearly in black and white that topless bathing is prohibited. Prohibition of topless bathing is part of our custom because we have always considered a topless bather as indecently dressed.

Our custom… because we have considered. a topless bather (gender neutral… hmm worrying). Of course. Which can only mean one thing… that the last time he went to the beach was in 1952 on a M.U.S.E.U.M. swimming trip where all the women were obliged to swim in long flowing black dresses while Father Polonius (fictitious name) gave everyone a helping hand to change before handing out the sandwiches with tuna and hardboiled eggs.

No. Mr Zammit. We do not all think the same way. We can sit calmly on a beach while women 2 feet away sit with their breasts exposed to absorb whatever harmful rays the sun may be sending. Our custom over the last few years has been to consider a pair of jugs exposed on the beach as much a part of the horizon as the hamallu family with a picnic cooler, tent and rubbish tip, the iswed (black – negro) who collects the deckchairs on his off-roading bike, the group of underage students complete with ogling Maltese or Italians and (just after sunset) we would also have the odd MUSEUM group coming to dip in the cold water having done their utmost to avoid as many people as possible. In recent years the ones with something to hide (possibly their twisted conscience) are those who are shy of other people – especially (and this may be unfortunate for them) because they are a minority on the hedonistic beaches of today.

There. And now I probably will have to apologise to M.U.S.E.U.M for having drawn them into this matter. I must say that the image of the group of MUSEUM persons on tour is not fictitious. Last time I was in Malta they were still at it at Hondoq ir-Rummien. Some group touring from Malta. The only improvement since the eighties must be the fact that any lady in the group would have shed the dress for a burka-like one piece suit. Good for them. Anyways. I am meant to be apologising to MUSEUM at this point. What can I say dudes… ah I know… I was provoked no?

Till next time… remember the most important advice of all… Use Sunscreen.


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