La Joie De Vivre

I want to sit in a dark corner of a bar with my friends, a bottle of beer and a cigarette. I want to talk about nothing and everything. I want to argue about the philosophy of the world as if we will manage to answer the questions no one has ever managed to answer.

I want to have a night where I don't have to worry about the future. Where I don't have to worry if I'm doing enough at school. Where I don't have to worry whether I'm wasting 4 years of my life to end up back at the start, without a good job, no money and still in Malta.

I want to put on some make up, a nice shirt, nice perfume, and go out and drink some cheap wine.

I want to freeze the time for just a few hours. So that neither the past nor the future exists. So that for a few hours I can be just me.

I want a taste of la joie de vivre.


May the funniest party win

It is electoral campaign season in Malta. Unlike many other countries campaigners have no trouble in getting people interested in voting. While countries like America get around 50% of voting, in Malta the voting is over 90%. I don’t know if the reason is because it’s a small country and there’s nothing much else to talk about besides football or if it’s because we have very charismatic leaders. But one thing is sure, the Maltese population love politics.

Yet campaigners still go the extra mile to attract people in their campaign by using billboards, mobile messages and telephone calls among others. What I find ironic is the childish way with which they go about their campaigning. The easiest and most prominent examples are of course the billboards. They are creative and very amusing like these two:

But I wonder whether they are really effective. Are floating voters really influenced by such propaganda? Of course it tickles the fancy of core voters, but isn't politics supposed to be a serious matter? Shouldn't they be more concerned about their proposals and making sure that if they are chosen they can actually follow through with their promises?

When asked whether billboards and other propaganda marketing influenced their choice Maria Debono said that “the billboards I usually see while I'm driving make me realise that both parties do not make it about what they are offering, but try to make fun of each other through the billboards.” Jane* agreed with her saying that “the only thing which may influence my decision are the debates.”

Chiara Darmanin argued that seeing the billboards “Made me curious [...] as to what they are telling the public they will achieve after they win the election.” And Hannah* thinks that “the messages can be irrelevant sometimes.”

*Names where changed to protect the privacy of the individual.



So this is a short story. I got inspired by this music video. Enjoy.

There was a little kid with a face of a monster. He grew up hidden away from the world. He was homeschooled and hidden from the world so he wouldn't be bullied. He was hidden because his mother couldn't face the shame of having a monster as a child. Though he had a face of a monster his heart was that of a prince. He was kind and sweet and gentle. He was polite and well-mannered.

As a grownup he decided that it was time to come out of hiding. So he went to university hopeful that the world would accept him. He smiled and went out of his way to be kind. But his smiles were mistaken as growls and kind gestures, like pulling out a chair for a girl, seemed like he was attacking her. He was nicknamed 'Monster'. He was either ridiculed or left alone because they were too scared to talk to him. As months passes he stopped making efforts and his once high-held head now hid his neck as his chin touched his torso. His shoulders slumped in defeat as he readied himself to face the rest of his life alone.

And then one day as he was walking to his dorm he heard a girl screaming and his inner superhero instincts overcame his hatred for the prejudiced world and ran to see what had happened. The girl was being harassed by her boyfriend. Monster punched the pretty boy who got scared and ran away. He looked into the girl's eyes and was enchanted. Then he seemed to once again remember his place, lowered his head and started to walk away.

"Wait" she said. He turned and looked at her. "I... Thank you."

"You're welcome."

"What's your name?" she asked warily as she took a few steps towards him.


The girl gasped. "That can't be your proper name?"

"A name is a word with which people identify you with. I'm known as Monster."

"Well...um...” the girl faltered.”Thanks. I have to go."


Monster kept waving as the beautiful girl with the long brown hair walked away from him. And he felt warmth right beneath his ribcage. And for the first time in months his lips seemed to want to form a smile. And his steps felt lighter. And his head was once again held up.  And he found in the next few days that he couldn't stop smiling.

And he realised that she was in most of his classes. And he started to look out for her around the campus. And she'd wave at him and smile.  And that would make his day. His days seemed to brighten up. And he felt like life was smiling down on him.

And one day he plucked enough courage to go sit near her at the library. And she didn't stand up and walk away. She just smiled at him and kept on reading. So he did the same the next day and the next.  And one day she turned towards him and introduced herself.

"Hi, we haven't officially met. I'm Jodie."

"H...Hi Jodie. What a lovely name." he said as he shook her hand.

"We have classes together don't we?"

"Yes we do. I sit at the back so I don't scare anyone."

"You don't scare people."

"That's not what their facial expressions say"

"Well I'm not scared of you." She said as she patted his hand.

"I...I... thanks. That means a lot to me."

So a friendship seemed to strike and they started spending more time together. And sometimes she'd sit with him at the back of the class. And she joined him in the morning run. And she'd go over to his room so they could study together. But she was always the one to make the first move.

He never joined her with her friends in class. And he never sat with her at the cafeteria. And she never asked him to. Because they both knew that the rest of her friends weren't as accepting as her. And he didn't mind because all he wanted was her companion no one else's. That way he could have her attention all for himself. He loved her. It was that simple.

Slowly she was falling for him too. His face no longer repulsed her. It was just there but it had the added traits she'd been finding out about him. So his face was no longer that of a monster, but a caring, kind, courageous young man. And she didn't know what to make of it.

 Her friends had been picking on her. At first they thought it was just a charity case. But she'd been ditching them to be with him, and they didn't like that. They told her time and again that he was not for her. There was no future with him. Her ex-boyfriend called her parents. So now she was harassed from all the people close to her. Her mother urged her to get back with her ex. He was a nice good looking lad who came from a nice family. So what if he had some flaws. Everyone did. It would be her job to fix them.

But whenever she was with him she found she could forget all their criticism. He made her feel special. Like she was the only person in the world. He let her talk and vent and hung on to every word she said. And he always had some little present for her. Sometimes flowers sometimes a poem or a book she had mentioned. He bought her a little lamp to attach to her book for when she stayed up at night to read. And he made her book marks from flower petals pressed in books. And she no longer called him Monster. Instead she called him Prince, he was her prince in shining armour who dashed in and saved her.

He almost cried the first time she called him Prince. He loved her so much more that day. And now he spent all his days thinking of her. He loved the vanilla smell in her hair. He loved her smile. He loved how heated she got when she was discussing something important for her. He loved how she curled like a cat to read a book. How her face lit up when he saw her. How when he talked she stopped what she was doing to listen intently to what he said. He loved the little dimples in her cheeks. Her little upturned nose. He loved her. She was his princess.

They loved each other. They could have gotten their happily ever after. But society is never satisfied. And she was getting tired of fighting with her friends and family. And he hated to see her so sad. And the day came when they said their goodbyes. And she went back to her little perfect world. While he fell into an abyss of sorrow. They were both very heartbroken. And even though she was surrounded with people she felt as alone as he did. But in a relationship there's always someone who loved more. And one day, she received a note from him. And it tore her heart as she read. But she was too late.

"I love you so much. I cannot imagine my life without you. You were the only reason for me to stay alive. And now you're gone. I hope you'll be happy. Don't waste your tears for me. You're too beautiful to ruin it crying.

I love you

Your Monster"

He'd said his last goodbyes to the one person he truly cared about. And he slipped into a painless darkness leaving the world that treated him so hard behind him.

And she felt like her world had ended. And her heart shattered in pieces. And she thought she could not move on. But she did. Because that's how life works.

And no there weren't all the people that he helped at his funeral. It was just her and his mother and the priest. Because this is not a fairytale. And the Beast does not get the Beauty. A monster can never be happy. Because society would never allow it.