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lundi, juin 27, 2005

Malta's Volstead Act (16)


Malta's Minister for Social Solidarity (do we need a greater indication as to what model of Europe we would support? ... fisheries my arse) has let it be known that the Cabinet Social Policy Committee is studying a proposal to ban the consumption of alcohol by minors (under 18s). Ms Cristina informed the general public of this cunning government plan during the launching ofa Binge Drinking Awareness Campaign by Sedqa.

It appears that Malta placed 5th in alcohol and other drugs consumption in Europe among 16-year olds. The Times Editorial thunders that "Alcohol Abuse is omnipresent and must be addressed. The longer we take to address the problem the more difficult it will become to solve." I read on through the yada yada we have come to expect whenever the fact that the alcohol spirit is raising its ugly head over our vulnerable youngsters becomes apparent. What strikes me is the remedies that are being proposed. Education, legislation and suspension of licence for anyone caught selling alcohol to minors.

The Torquemadas are out in their droves again. When faced with a problem, our solution is always punish, punish and more punish. As world bible champions we find great comfort in fashioning the latest "Thou shalt not" rules. Read the editorial. It is an invitation to a crusade. Eradicate the little vermin and their access to alcohol.

Give me a break!!! Minister Cristina. While you and your Social Policy Committee are busy drafting the coolest prohibition act since Mr. Volstead pulled one on an unsuspecting American populace, the little towns of sin called Paceville and Bugibba are still sprouting an off-license at every corner. Take a stroll down St. George's Road between Spinola and Burger King and count the number of places from where alcohol is easily accessible. When I left Malta a year ago Paceville was still in the process of shedding useless bars in favour of night shops selling vodka and red bull by the bottle. When bars do open and want to be successful it is as specialised outlets wherein one can wreck one's liver at a cheap price. The Vodka Bar, the Shooters bar etc etc.

Minister Cristina. While you and the Social Policy Committee are busy prohibiting, no one is getting busy providing an ALTERNATIVE. What are we encouraging youngsters to do? In my youth it was the time of no to skateboarding (not that I liked it), no to music (not many concerts out there anyway), and definitely no theatre. Put yourself in a sixteen year olds shoes who has to choose between the fun of (a) the price of two cinema tickets, a small popcorn and a small coke at any cinema or (b) one bottle (BOTTLE) of vodka and a couple of cans of red bull. Add to this peer pressure and lack of sustainable alternatives and bingo� that's the spirit.

I'm not too sure but I get the impression that we are busy polishing the stick but there is no sign of the carrot. First we allow the creation of a world of temptation and inevitable inebriation, then at the same stroke we say don't touch, don't taste, don't swallow. Any ideas?

"Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It's the goof of all time. Look but don't touch. Touch, but don't taste. Taste, don't swallow. Ahaha. And while you're jumpin' from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He's laughin' His sick, fuckin' ass off. He's a tight-ass. He's a sadist. He's an absentee landlord. Worship that? Never."

Al Pacino, The Devil's Advocate
(1997)

13 commentaires:

Kenneth a dit…

Start all your links with http:// or else they won't work.

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

thank you king ken!
it's just that when I cut and paste in the URL box sometimes I inadvertently leave out the http!

What does HTTP stand for anyway?

HEAVENLY TITS TEND TO PLEASE? Or is that one T too many?

:)

apologies for the vulgarity

pierre j mejlak a dit…

http: Hawn Tant Tfajliet Pekuljari :)

MaltaGirl a dit…

I thought that everyone knew it was HyperText Transfer Protocol. Honestly, the non-geek riffraff that they allow onto the web these days...

Athena a dit…

Speaking of booze, I have no idea what Paceville is like these days but I sincerely hope Malta isn't in the throes of a binge-drinking culture. Come to the UK to get a taste of that. It's horrible and it's not the prerogative of under-age loons either. Scarily, Cambridge is apparently pretty mild compared to elsewhere. It's just not pretty seeing people vomiting in the street, left for almost dead on the pavement or else starting senseless fights 'cos of drunkeness. This old git doesn't enjoy this type of socializing either, call me strange by drunken louts have never amused me, so we normally take the back streets to get to a cinema, just to avoid the vomiting, drunken masses. Urgh.

gybexi a dit…

it means...

Ha Tieqaf Tikkwota lill-Paulinus!
(fost nies ohra li thobb tikkwota bil-Latin)

:p

Kenneth a dit…

Jacques, you should only apologise for not providing pictures to backup your definition.

Err, I meant, it's HyperText Transfer Protocol, as maltagirl told you :)

Vlad a dit…

Though I am sympathetic to the general tone of your rant, you are inconsistent on some points. You charge the powers that be with creating a mood of unbridled licentiousness while condemning the same. In fairness, as with the Vorstead Act of the title, Dolores Cristina is merely responding as she feels is appropriate in a culture of excessive indulgence. While Volstead was informed by his puritan Lutheran education, Cristina is presumably likewise inspired by her fire-and-brimstone faith in Catholic purity and morality.
Anyhow, if one were to recognise that a problem did indeed exist, it is remarkably reductive to boil it down to a question of the supposed lack of choice suffered by Maltese youths, who are relatively speaking probably some of the most well-off in Europe. It could as easily be argued that there are legitimate outlets for teens in Malta than the contrary. The truth is that by dint of cultural influences, most likely from Britain, heavy drinking has become one of the most popular.
That said more could be done, though if any punishments are to be meted out, this should be directed towards those who illegaly sell their wares to youngsters. This is the case in most countries with binge-drinking cultures, though it may be hard to enforce such rules in a country where even small-time drug dealers are permitted to trade with impunity. Which is a good thing too, otherwise I'd have no idea where to buy my dose of synthetic drugs.
The question that really should be asked is whether this is a genuinely pressing problem or just another opportunity for Dolores Cristina to prove her reactionary credentials. It is true that Maltese drinkers do drink a fair amount, but they are commendably restrained about not starting fights and vomiting everywhere. Not to say they don't do it at all, but thugs will start fights whatever happens and throwing up is hardly a preserve of the young.

Kenneth a dit…

And half of those drunk in Paceville are foreigners... either persons coming from cultures which disallow alcohol, or students studying English in Malta who think it's best to overdo it with alcohol just cos they're away from home and mommy won't get to know.

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

rant, rave and roll

thanks vlad. much appreciated comment. I do not think this reaction is a wrong one. I agree with further restrictions on alcohol consumption. I also believe however that it is the easy way out for the government. All you need to do is see the lack of investment in other areas which might be producing the necessary distraction away from the booze.

and hey all of you (ken included)... hands up if you did not start drinking before you were 16.... (what no hands???)

Kenneth a dit…

Actually I think I can prove you wrong (ho battuto l'avvocato!). Sure, I've tasted the odd Shandy when I was much smaller ("?u bela, ?a!") but I never indulged in an alcohol orgy. I can remember of only two occasions where I got a bit tipsy.

The first one was a month or two before I turned 16. It was the first time we messed a bit with different alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, and Vodka Cruiser (!) jekk jog??bok, but the first time is always the first time), but still nothing out of this world. I still remember us 4 shouting "Gay is the way!" in the middle of PV though. Let's not talk about that, please, although it sure brings a smile on my face when I look back at the incident.

I consider myself to be a social drinker that enjoys a beer or two with friends, but I always control myself. Alcohol is bad for your blood pressure and will ruin your heart ;)

Instead of proposing severe punishments, the best education they could possibly give is exposing teens to patients who just underwent the bypass operation. I can assure you that it will impress you. Next time you'll buy a bottle of wine, you'll remember of how it must feel being so weak while bedridden for a month (actually three, but you'll start gradually improving) that you can't even get up to pee in the toilet.

Having lived for three long months with my dad in that condition, I can't make myself drink enough to get drunk ever again.

And they say Vodka affects your eyesight. Jien di?a' qed sew...

Athena a dit…

Moving to England is the best way to give up drink 'cos it's so bloody expensive. I have no idea how these lunatics can afford regular binge drinking! Four quid for a scotch brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Kenneth a dit…

Nothing beats Lacrima Vitis at 75c or Lm 1 *laughs sarcastically*