The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Getting to know… Ġorġ Mallia - on cartoons, writing and passion for chocolate

Stephen Calleja Sunday, 16 January 2022, 10:30 Last update: about 5 months ago

University lecturer and well-known cartoonist Ġorġ Mallia always knew he wanted to become a teacher.

His lover for reading and writing started from a very young age, and his choice of people with whom to share a meal makes it clear what his hobbies are.

He loves meat and chocolate, does not like sports, but what does really make him angry


What was the last book you read?

For entertainment purposes, easily the best thriller to come out of the UK in 2021, The First Day of Spring, Nancy Tucker’s debut novel.

Who is your favourite author?

Oh dear, now there’s a difficult one. I have an enormous amount of favourites in a dozen genres (I’m a certified bookworm) ... but I think that, in the end, J.R.R. Tolkien must be a cut above the rest.

What was the last film you watched?

Black Widow. I have watched every single superhero movie and television series.

Which film have you seen multiple times and enjoyed every time you saw it?

Can I get away with mentioning a series of films? The whole James Bond canon.

Who is your favourite actor/actress?

That has to be Anthony Hopkins.

What is your favourite TV series?

Well, the one I’ve enjoyed the most of late was the Foundation series, based on Asimov’s books.

What is your favourite game or sport to watch and play?

I’m not sporting. Nor am I into any sort of games, I’m afraid.

Which team do you support?

I don’t do football. At all. But if I did, I suppose it might need to be Manchester United (yeah ... sad, I know!)

Which song would you sing at a karaoke night?

I would not be caught dead singing in a karaoke night. Plus, Stairway to Heaven cannot be sung in Karaoke.

Who is your favourite singer/band?

Two equal ones: Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.

Which show/event would you like to attend/have attended?

Too late now, I suppose. But I missed out twice on seeing Genesis live. If they did another show, I would definitely try to be there. But that’s far fetched.   

What three items would you take with you on a deserted island?

My iPad Pro and pencil (no clue how I’d charge them, but that was not the question); a favourite book; and pen and paper.

Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest?

My sense of touch.

What's the most unusual thing you've ever eaten?

A Danish sausage called Medister.

What is that one thing you could not go a day without?

Has to be my mobile phone.

Which fictional character do you relate to most?

Joseph O’Loughlin, the psychologist ‘hero’ of Michael Robotham’s O’Loughlin and Ruiz series of crime novels. He is flawed and human, and an empath ... and yet manages to mess up so badly so often.

Do you check your horoscope?

Categorically not.

What age would you choose if you could be one age forever?


What invention would you erase from history?

The gun.

Would you like to know the day when you will die?

No thank you.


What's your favourite animal?

I’m not really an animal person (unfortunately), but we have had cats and I had quite a rapport with them.

What's your favourite type of foreign food? 

A Danish dish called Hakkebøf Med Løg – a very basic dish with mincemeat meatballs, cooked with onions in a brown sauce. To die for.

What is your favourite hobby?

Writing and drawing (equally).

What's your favourite season?

That has to be Spring.

What's your favourite ice cream topping?

Chocolate. Always chocolate. Forever chocolate.

What's your favourite board game?

I don’t really play them. But I have been told by researchers that I created the very first Maltese one way way back.

What is your favourite pizza?

Meat lovers.

What is your favourite colour?

A deep red – sort of burgundy.

What is your favourite pasta dish?

Boring, I know. But it would have to be spaghetti bolognese (closely followed by penne al carbonara).

What is your favourite cartoon show?

I will never stop watching Tom and Jerry (but the original cartoons, not the later mash-ups, and definitely not the last film!)

What did you like to do most during the summer holidays?

Read avidly (sometimes a couple of books a day), and write. I wrote whole novels on copybooks that I then bound together.

What career did you see yourself in when you were young?

I think I always knew I would be teaching.

What is your best childhood memory?

I’m from Qormi. A simple memory persists. Mum buying fresh bread from one of the many bakeries there, still steaming hot from the oven, and thickly spreading it with salty butter that would melt in our mouths. I know ... deadly, but it was delicious.

Did you learn how to ride a bike?

Only in my early twenties, because I needed to for a trip abroad. And, unlike the old adage, I then proceeded to forget how to do it.

Who was your super hero?

Alternating between Spider-Man and Batman. But when I was at the Lyceum I created my own (Hurricane) and used to draw a comic a month about him.

Which toy do you wish to have kept?

Some of my corgi cars ... particularly a Batmobile I had when I was very young.

What subject did you excel in at school?

English was always my main subject.

What subject did you dislike the most in school?

Maths. And I’m still hopeless at it.

Was there some family tradition that was never missed?

Not really. When my gradmother was alive, it became a tradition to go see her daily. But not sure that was a family tradition.

What are the best values you owe to your parents?

Perseverence in the face of adversity.


What would you change about yourself if you could?

I would be less emotive and sensitive. I’d like to be as emotionally hard as nails, but know I’m the very opposite of that.

What really makes you angry?

Injustice. That has torn me up from day one.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

It depends on my moods, that vary as much as the Maltese winds. So ... both, just at different times. But I’m a doer, so I suppose the half full is the predominant.

Are you a sore loser?

Not really. Depends on how much work and time and emotion I will have put into something. I do usually just feel bad for a while, shrug and just let it go. But I’m rarely in competitions, so do not get the opportunity to lose very often (by dint of not being there).

What is your biggest regret?

Falling in love with the wrong women.

What’s the first thing you look for in a partner and/or friend?

Humour. It says a lot about character.

What is your greatest fear?

Heights. Not as in flying, I’m fine in planes, but being at a very high spot with no protection. It’s a killer.

What is your life motto?

If it depends on me, I can do it.

If you had a warning label, what would yours say?

Beware of raging emotions.

What's one thing that can instantly make your day better?

A genuine smile on the face of someone I love.

If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you do or buy?

I’m a gadgets man, so probably some technologically advanced thingamagig – a much more powerful tablet or laptop, perhaps.

If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be?

Fantasy writer J.R.R. Tolkien, Science Fiction writer Robert Heinlein, singer Kate Bush and Harry Potter writer J.K. Rowling.

If you could bring one person back from the dead who’d it be? 

My dad. He died at 52 when I was just 21.

If you could time travel, when and where would you go?

France in La Belle Epoque.

If you could relive one moment in your life, which would it be?

The birth of my first child. An amazing, magical, life-changing (but also very frightening) experience.

If you could live anywhere outside Malta, where would it be?


If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Probably something mundane like a huge fry-up!

If you could know the truth behind a secret or mystery, which would it be?

Why people hurt people.

If you could eliminate one of the seven deadly sins, which one would it be?


If you had to be given a superpower, what would you choose?

The ability to make people smile all the time. And mean it.

Coffee or tea?


Walk or swim?

Can’t swim, so walk.

Summer or winter?


Italy or England?

England (in spite of Brexit!)

Restaurant or delivery?


Early bird or night owl?

Early bird.

Fish or meat?


Mobile phone or TV?

Mobile phone.

Black or white?


Film or TV series?


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