vendredi, octobre 28, 2005

Penny Wise, Flush Foolish

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Frank Salt is another columnist whose writings are source of entertainment for the young and old. I understand that the estate agent is an individual full of good intentions and his column is always full of paternalistic advice for those denizens of the islands who have still not made their fortune flogging property at extortionate prices. I just love it.

Today Mr Salt has shared the result of his "mental exertions" (sic) with the rest of the population. It seems that the hike of electricity bill prices prompted this sudden rush of brain cell activity as Mr Salt decided to prove that the money saving tactics of old (tipo under Labour) are still worth our consideration. Mr Salt surveys his house to examine the exact quantity of electricity wastage that is going on at the moment of his sudden inspiration. It turns out that the following electric apparata were functioning:

4 bulbs in the hall
2 bulbs in the living room
1 neon in the kitchen
1 bulb in the dog's room (fido must be reading late)
2 bulbs in the staircase
6 (six) bulbs in the main bedroom
4 bulbs at the front gate
2 bulbs outside the main door
2 television sets (living & kitchen)
1 pond fountain light
1 water pump on roof
2 spare refrigerators (for no reason)
1 computer
3 emersion (sic) heaters

There you go. Salt has just described your average man's home - dog room, spare refrigerator and emersion heater included. Now, aside from the fact that I guess that an emersion heater is one that suddenly emerges when you most need it (as against an immersion heater) and that I am still unsure why a dog needs a room (as against a kennel), I presume that Mr Salt was typing on his PC which definitely does not classify the fact that it is on as being wasteful.

The light bulb that illuminates Frank's mind was still on while he mulled about how energy is wasted in order to have a well lit house, immediate warm water and cool water. I almost got carried away and in a tree-hugging inspiration yelled "Way to go Frank" and reached for the typewriter. But then the little irritating elf in my head said: "it's called 21st century comfort". Why is it something to aspire to when there is a Labour government (because we do not have it) but to deny oneself (because we are presumably spoilt) under a Nationalist one? I am all for energy saving... but to call warm water in the house a luxury?.... naaaah...

So what is Frank's tuppence for the general PN Energy Saving Plan? Water in your toilet cistern that's what. The age old trick of the brick in the flushing. Add a brick (or if you are a wishy washy liberal who has used up all his bricks by throwing them through various institutional windows a litre bottle will do) in your flusjing and you save one litre of water every time you take a dump and flush. Yep. Salt's calculations depend exclusively on how many times the average Maltese dwelling family visits the loo to take a number 2. 6 it would seem. The average Maltese family takes six dumps a day. And with the brick-or-bottle-in-the-cistern trick we will save 547 million litres of water per year.

Next the government will be handing out free figs and constipation inducing tablets in order to reduce the number of visits to the bathroom. Then we will move on to the "Shower Once a Week" Campaign.

"All this water can be saved by putting a full litre bottle of water, or the equivalent, inside the flushing of each toilet in our islands. My mind started to really get going and I realised we are a very wasteful people. We waste so much and it is all so unnecessary."

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Another lateral thinker. Lorna's floating islands, Frank's Dump Saver. I'd love to ask Frank what he means by "or the equivalent". Apart from the fact that an empty litre bottle still suffices because it displaces a litre (just tie it to the bottom of the cistern)... should the 'or equivalent' be read as a bottle of Moet for the upper classes?

Ah well. So that is how PN are planning to save us. That is why AD's 6 point plan did not make sense. Here it is in black and white. They tax us. They increase prices. And then we will be pushed into inspirational energy saving measures. Now I am all in favour of energy saving. I agree that we must be more conscious about how we use the energy we have. What pisses me off... really... is how this kind of argument (or responsibilisation) is acceptable for PN supporters now when the same supporters would be grumbling about how they have been reduced to a third-world- wash-once-a-week population should the same measures be introduced by a Santian government.

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Beyond that, the fact remains that the AD proposals were also intended to spread the responsibilisation in a better way. In any case this criticism will come under attack (part of PN strategy). Anyone disagreeing with the saving is unable to make a sacrifice for the country or the environment. Circum tauri I say. I disagree with the headless chicken planning and I resent arselicking reasoning that justifies it all instead of admitting that there are more rational, more reasonable and less draconian ways of reaching the same goal.

Meanwhile, Frank Salt tells us that he stood up after his mental exertions and thought how a hefty increase in his monthly outlay can affect his way of thinking. Kafkesque isn't it? Almost Eastern Iron Curtain literature all over again. Only this time there is no irony. The citizen is really blaming himself and thanking government for having made him think by increasing his cost of living.

I'm off. I intend to switch off the computer for ten minutes. Then I will go and hide some files in the flushing at work so that the institutional savings will be tenfold (less work and less water down the drain). And oh... tonight no light in Xitan's (my cat) room. The bitch can read in the dark!

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8 commentaires:

Arcibald a dit…

Interesting interesting - Frank Salt and Minister Deguara really spiced up the opinion column pages of today's Times. :)

Justin Borg Barthet a dit…

I love his opening sentence: 'There is nothing like a hefty hike in your electricity bills to make you aware of the wastage you incur on a daily basis'; we could go and on in the same vein. Here are some further suggestions:

1. There's nothing like blindness to make you aware of your sense of hearing;
2. There's nothing like torrential rainfall to make you aware of that leakage in the roof;
3. There's nothing like a good kick in the nuts to make you aware of your manhood;

The possibilities are endless. Thank you Mr Salt

david a dit…

Jacques - this was a tour de force on your part. A splendid critique of "Toilet humour meets Edward De Bono while flirting with Franz Kafka".

One could also quibble with Frank's "we are throwing our money, literally in some cases, down the drain"

Enjoy the hols!

Antoine Cassar a dit…

Eccellenti. Tal-bierah kien tour de force ukoll. Lorna u Salt kwazi kwazi jmisshom jiktbu fil-Bollettino u mhux fit-Times, tant huma redikoli dawn iz-zewg artikli.

Tal-prima donna ma stajtx nemmen dak li kont qed naqra... il-mizuri li tipproponi jfakkruni f'dawk il-gzejjer li jintuzaw bhala centri penitenzjarji, u ma setghux ma jfakkrunix fl-ideat ta' certu Benito... miskin ir-refugjat li jkollu jqatta' bejn 12 u 18-il xahar fuq izola dezerta waqt li jistenna li jasal messagg minghand xi burokrati lil hinn mix-xefaq... fejn tidhol il-psikologija nahseb Lorna pittma hafna.

Justin, dahhaktni wahda sew :-)

Guze' Stagno a dit…

I loved this entry - prosit hey. Though what are we to do with all the aircon units we bought under EFA's early-90's boom?

Fausto Majistral a dit…

Beyond that, the fact remains that the AD proposals were also intended to spread the responsibilisation in a better way.

I'm still waiting for you to tell us how.

Jacques René Zammit a dit…

stenna stenna

niltaqghu ghal-kafe faust?

Fausto Majistral a dit…

i'm saving for when i get the electricity bill lands in my mailbox. ;)