I’ve often wondered whether there was something wrong with me.
Many Maltese people I know will bristle at any perceived or actual criticism of Malta if the person doing the criticizing was not Maltese or perceived to be not Maltese.
Was I born without this prickly defensiveness gene? Do you have to have this gene to be properly Maltese? Or is this lack of touchiness about my native country something to do with the fact that I lived away from patria mia for more than two decades?
I’d like to think that being away from my native country would not have made any difference whatsoever to my insouciance about people criticizing Malta, when it is well deserved.
But who knows? Maybe I’m kidding myself.
Now, if someone tells you that Arms hounded a poor woman for 10 months about arrears of 130 000 euro on her account, disconnected her electricity and water supplies for 10 months, when it turns out that there were no such astronomical arrears, what would you do? Would you not shout from the rooftops to all and sundry that something must be done about the criminally incompetent Arms? Would you not want to express your anger and disgust that this state of affairs was allowed to continue?
And do you know what the problem was in this case? Somehow the meter reading went from a 5 digit reading to a 6 digit reading; an increase of about 650 000 units over a 7 year period, 6 years of which the building had been demolished. Common sense, it seems, is not so common.
Face palm to infinity.
And this is by no means the first time that we, in CArms, have seen this mistake. Another person was billed for 700 cubic metres of water when she had only consumed 0.7 cubic metres. These are just two mistakes of this kind that we know about; goodness knows how many more are not even noticed.
If you knew that the very day this problem was solved at a swipe by somebody in CArms pointing out this glaringly obvious error, that another family with two young children had been disconnected because their landlord hadn’t paid the Arms bill, what would you do?
Instead of being so touchy or instead of coming out with the predictable “If you don’t like it here, what are you doing here?”, why can’t we All of us, no us and them, hold our government to account? Why don’t we insist that the right thing is done and not childishly, offensively say those infantile words?
In previous blogs, I have criticized my country for a litany of wrongs done to tenants. This wasn’t a gratuitous criticism of the kind practised by some people when they go off on an “Only in Malta” beating of the chest fest. This was a criticism that comes from somewhere primitive inside of me, resembling a reflex action. I want to make this kind of state behaviour stop. I want proper governing by my government. Anyhow. Yesterday. By shouting long and hard. By conducting a hard fought for campaign of information to correct the huge misinformation out there.
And I do not like being told to go back to where I came from if I don’t like it. Not by people who should be shouting long and hard with me. From rooftops. Anyhow. Yesterday.