Don't bully me for my vote - Earn it
The General Elections in Malta are looming, and in case nobody noticed, the parties are in full election mode and the candidates have already started their debasing strategies of self-promotion that include the usual Bingo coffe-morning sessions and general begging for an unmerited vote.
It's that kind of atmosphere that makes you wish to leave the country more than usual - to hell with voting, you just want to get away from it all. Last election was particularly difficult as the social media was aflame with all that had happened in terms of corruption accusations and many took it on their shoulders to be the knights of righteousness and coerce people into their own point of view. People who had a balanced opinion or who chose to stay silent about their views were lynched on social media and shaming attempts were made. This was in public, let alone what was happening in those dark festering corners of secret groups and WhatsApp chats. Little did they know that such strategies are actually counter-productive - in Psychology we call this 'Reactance' - I invite you to look it up.
So this time round I am going to short circuit the entire thing and I am going to tell you precisely whom I am voting for, not because you should care about or follow what I do; not because I want to influence you in any sort of way, but so that when the bullying and shaming strategies commence, there will be no doubt what I will stand for.
Before I tell you my voting strategy, know that I give value to individual candidates and I have respect for members of parliament on both sides of the fence. I was never a fan of tribalism, as I was never made to feel part of any Maltese tribe, being made to feel an 'outsider' myself due to my Filipino background and my non-adherence to Maltese cultural elements like Religion. To me, parties have to work hard and earn the vote of a cross-voting/floating-voting person such as myself.
This blog entry would be far too long if I had to list ALL of the issues that are important to me but I am just going to list those few that are repeatedly poking at my brain and they make me ask the question "why the heck don't they see it?":
Value of Teachers and Education
I will certainly vote for those who will recognise the dire situation Education is in right now; with a severe lack of teachers. Unless people recognise the need to make the teaching profession more attractive to the younger generation through improving salaries, the backbone of society will shatter. We cannot have the teaching profession requiring a minimum of Master's level degree with a starting salary that is less than a low ranking non-academic job at a gaming company.
Culture and Sports
There is no doubt here; my vote will go to people who have proven themselves to put Maltese talent and artists at the forefront and supported them with the best facilities and incentives possible. Words are important but actions are fare more important. I will watch closely what will be proposed for the future, but I will also judge by track record.
Something else that Malta needs is a large multi-purpose space that can act as a large sports event facility, a conference hall and a professionally designed concert hall. Such spaces exist abroad and the first that comes to mind is the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo (capacity of 15,000). It was originally built as a large martial arts competition space, (which we do need to strengthen our martial arts sports / boxing / MMA events in Malta that carry vast numbers of athletes) it is also used as an event and concert hall. A plethora of artists from Led Zeppelin to Mariah Carey performed in concert at the Nippon Budokan. A well-designed multi-purpose hall for Malta would be a life-saver for Malta's performing arts and many sportive disciplines.
The Nippon Budokan in Tokyo
Liberal Values and Progress
A healthy democracy requires the freedom for people to thrive in. Once again this is also an issue of track record. People who have repeatedly, publicly, resisted all the liberal changes that have happened in this country since the legalisation of Divorce, can forget my vote. Dinosaurs have no place in our parliament and politicians who feel that their position is to be used for the guardianship of a morality that they subscribe to, should consider priesthood not politics.
Seriously! How difficult can it be to cough up a few billion Euro with the help of the EU to create a proper offshore wind and solar farm? We have the real-estate needed in our territorial waters without spoiling our land. Malta's power demand is something around 600 Megawatts, not even a single Gigawatt (yet). Do you know how much a modern offshore windfarm can produce? 40 Gigawatts. We would produce even more if we also had floating offshore solar panels. That means we could actually sell power to Sicily instead of buying it from the interconnector. Anyone seriously considering these options is going to earn my vote. This should be a national drive, not forcing individual Maltese people to find solutions for our energy problems by using the real estate of their own land. The EU has already put a target on the whole EU community so that Europe will produce around 240GW of power by 2050 through offshore wind power. Let's see if Malta is going to capitalise on that...
Malta's only salvation for transport. A fast, electric (clean if the above is acknowledge as well), traffic-reducing, transport system. Let's face it - buses are part of the traffic problem in Malta and they pollute as much as every other car. Someone living in Mellieha should be able to catch the fast monorail to a Valletta Hub and instead of an underground network we should have overhead mag-lev railing and elevated monorail stations. More roads will not reduce the amount of cars and pollution in our country. A monorail train system will.
I have to applaud the recent attempts to make this service available in Malta but this has not yet been materialised into a practical thing that people can already avail themselves of for their deceased loved ones. Politicians underestimate the power that such personal things have on people. A friend of mine once told me "Politics is about what people feel when they put their head on the pillow at night before they go to sleep" and I would have to agree. Well, the question "What is going to happen to me after I die and how am I going to be memorialised?" is a question that can come at that exact time and by many people. Providing help for memorialising services, without the hassles of having to deal with the issues of land and cemeteries, is a very personal matter that touches people in a unique way and Politicians are there precisely to be close to such matters. We have already had someone who got the ball rolling. Now we need someone who will propose concrete solutions to get it up and running.
Well that's it - I hope this answers your doubts as to what I stand for and whom I am voting for. In case you're wondering, I will not be too active on social media during this electoral campaign and if you are going to attempt to shame me in any way for not voicing an opinion in favour or against your views, then you're a scumbag and a bully. If you want my vote, earn it.