The Malta Independent 18 February 2020, Tuesday

Telqa totali

Victor Calleja Sunday, 25 August 2019, 08:55 Last update: about 7 months ago

If you are non-Maltese speaking but have inhabited this rock briefly you must have grasped the meaning of Telqa totali. Just look around you, follow the news, go for a walk and learn the first two words in Maltese which liberally translated are: total breakdown, all is a mess.

Who cares? Nobody! And guess why? Because, stupid, the economy is doing fine, thank you very much. Kulħadd qed idawwar lira is another of our Maltese sayings. Literally that means “everyone is turning round a pound”. Liberally translated this would be: if everyone is making a packet why bother with niceties?


We live in a cowboy land looking more and more like a dump. It’s a racket of noise, thievery and dirt—the authorities are screwing the economy, the reputation, the rule of law, the freedom to speak with no consequences, the environment, the list goes on and on till kingdom come.

Not only does everyone look away as if nothing is awry, we—at least I—are always told to shut up. Supposedly, that is better for all of us. Not just for me and the authorities but even for the opposition which are now in total denial and hardly exist. Or they have become so inured to corruption, our terrible state of affairs, that they feel it’s better not to speak out. As the new deadening mantra goes let’s be positive.

Silence by the opposition is now considered being positive. Helping Joseph Muscat and all his minions seem to be giving us all not telqa totali but good things to last our lifetime and a hundred lifetimes to come. Because in the telqa totali that has taken over all is seen to be shiny and bright.  

Basic things have gone haywire. I met a friend at a café close to Pembroke, which some years back was christened the Golden Mile. A mile of glitzy hotels for living the high life.

There is talk of a super deluxe—or was that ditched?—7-star hotel and residences. There is the db tower, formerly ITS block, getting ready to give us more luxury than a pharaoh or his hounds ever dreamt about, chic living in this golden and now-diamond-encrusted piece of real estate. Real garbage is more like it.

Till some time ago I considered people who come to Malta as making a good choice. I now feel disgusted as we have dumped this country into a right republican mess.

After enjoying my coffee in the Golden Mile I descended to St George’s Bay and walked up through Paceville. Pacevile is more like it.

I walked up steps which have not seen any cleaning for weeks. The roads were full of garbage—and this was preceding the evening mayhem.

It was a scene of scenes—of total neglect and total horror. The filth resembled the state of a medieval village ravaged by marauders. Oil spills, food leftovers, food containers and everywhere you look a crane, a building site, dust and cars converging all over. All dustbins in Malta have next to them a trail of disgusting goo—where are Owen Bonnici’s cleansers when you need them?

It was 5 in the afternoon. The sun was still out and the garbage and food strewn all over was stinking even more than humans can, or should tolerate. But now we are a rich people so I suppose we are not human—maybe we have already turned into dystopian cockroaches. But let’s be positive. At least we are rich cockroaches.

The 7-star visitor or the expat living in splendid Malta could wander for two minutes—as I did—and encounter all this. Malta deserves better. We need better quality air, space, more trees and more oxygen.   If we don’t improve the situation immediately, we will soon have stressed-out people—or cockroaches—going on rampages and unexplained road-rages.

Till a few years ago we were in a far better situation. Were we in paradise? Definitely not!

We never really had a shining diamond. We did have a gem—with some rough, uncut, even unspoilt areas. Now it is all dull, ugly, noisy, dirty and polluted. We also had corruption in high places, wrong decisions regarding the environment—but not to the extent we have now. And our quality of life was undoubtedly better.

We might be making more money—even fleecing every man and woman in sight—and going abroad more often, eating out more and buying fancier cars and clothes.

As individuals we might also own more and more properties. But we are living in a land which has shed most of its soul and purity. At least when we were poorer we could live and breathe safely.

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