Maltese and Gozitans know how to celebrate and enjoy themselves. Even a football defeat can be turned into a moral victory and occasions celebration. In this, the Maltese culture is rich: it adds to the inhabitant’s quality of life! However, one rarely catches Maltese or Gozitans enjoying a book. This is unfortunate and leads to a form of ideational and mental poverty.
This lack of reading is visible in the ways Maltese talk of their peers. Gossip is a national pass time. There is little to talk about if one eliminates the gossip. There is little appreciation of what peers are doing because it is important to appear to have one up on others. This is often accompanied by another pass time: ‘gerger’ parties. Complaining allows for venting off: but does not lead to solutions! One cannot escape the cult de sac unless one takes responsibility of current challenges with a view of doing something about them!
A cursory look at comments on local websites reveals how people engage in political labelling rather than contributing to discussions towards better political and social solutions. An attempt is often made to silence the other by attributing political ulterior motives. Ideas are often limited to those propagated by political leaders. On the Island life is red or blue. Witnessing a rainbow of colours is rare indeed!
Things can be different. Good reading allows a person to open one’s mind, build tolerance, and see other possibilities. Such reading allows one to venture beyond the isolation imposed by geographical and social constraints. Reading a good book is like touching the sky!