Up to my nose

It is start­ing to get se­ri­ously silly by the day (no, sorry. by the minute)!

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Dr An­drew Az­zopardi Dean Fac­ulty for So­cial Well­be­ing, Univer­sity of Malta & Broad­caster – Għandi xi Ngħid www.an­drewaz­zopardi.org

Un­til a cou­ple of years ago, Ar­riva topped the list and it was what we were all fo­cused on. Be­fore that it was the state of our streets and now it’s the un­bear­able, ag­o­nis­ing and hor­ren­dous traf­fic sit­u­a­tion that is stress­ing ev­ery­one in­side out. Traf­fic is prob­a­bly our new na­tional wit­ti­cism.

Last Satur­day, dur­ing my ra­dio show, Għandi xi Ngħid on Radju Malta, we dis­cussed the im­pact that traf­fic is hav­ing on ev­ery bit and piece of our life. Whilst the most ob­vi­ous low-down of this sit­u­a­tion re­mains tim­ing, keep­ing to ap­point­ments, punc­tu­al­ity, costs, drop in pro­duc­tion, etcetera etcetera, now it is turn­ing into a na­tional cri­sis that no-one seems to have a clue on how to re­solve. We ap­pear to be get­ting ‘new’ ideas and plans ev­ery day. To add in­sult to in­jury con­ges­tion seems to shift with no pat­tern and we have more and more bot­tle­necks pil­ing up in ev­ery cor­ner of the is­lands.

This is ter­ri­ble and un­bear­able.

Not only is the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion dramatic but it is a ques­tion that no one knows what the so­lu­tions re­ally are even though some pre­tend they do. Some are talk­ing about dig­ging up all of Malta with rab­bit holes, as if this could be done overnight (re­mem­ber the wa­ter cul­vert sys­tem? – it took us years on end to plan and to do, oh and we still have the oc­ca­sional flood).

Then the Op­po­si­tion comes up with its oc­ca­sional brain­wave bless them, the lat­est be­ing that we have a tram slith­er­ing in-be­tween our lamp posts, wiring and the chaos that en­sues. What is good about this tram thingy though is that as we go on our daily trips we will be en­ter­tained by Ġuża who is still wear­ing her night­dress go­ing round in cir­cles do­ing her er­rands, Kar­menu is lis­ten­ing to a bit of ‘għana’ and try­ing out his sick­ness the­atrics to avoid go­ing to work and Jes­mond mak­ing out with his new flame in­stead of do­ing lec­tures!

This, in my opin­ion, is a na­tional tragedy (or should I call it a farce) be­cause whilst the politi­cians spar and take a dig at each other I in­vite you to watch peo­ple’s faces as they are com­mut­ing from one place to an­other. Some weeks ago I was driv­ing down from Naxxar where there is the in­fa­mous scrap yard host­ing yet an­other mon­u­ment of po­lit­i­cal ob­scen­ity, the bendy buses that sit there tak­ing in the rust. Shame­ful that we have a coun­try where no one car­ries any blame and re­spon­si­bil­ity and where ev­ery­one is fine be­cause it’s not ‘their’ money. God knows how much has been spent on those buses and yet we find it ok to let them take in the weather without even try­ing to get some­thing out of them.

Any­way, back to faces. As I was driv­ing down from Naxxar, I couldn’t but help see the looks on peo­ple’s faces. They weren’t ‘morn­ing faces’ still set­tling in to the new day but frus­trated, ag­i­tated, an­gry, anx­ious and dis­tressed fa­cial expressions. This is not good at all.

When I spoke to the ex­perts, in the med­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal and psy­chi­atric field I’ve had peo­ple telling me that traf­fic might in­crease the in­ci­dence of Alzheimer’s, car­dio­vas­cu­lar prob­lems, high blood pres­sure and other phys­i­cal ail­ments and this apart from the fact that it might also create dif­fi­cul­ties with con­cen­tra­tion, road rage, de­pres­sion, ex­ces­sive men­tal pres­sure, and other prob­lems.

In this coun­try we need to re­alise that with the shelf-life of politi­cians we will not get any of our na­tional is­sues re­solved if we do not take a more prag­matic ap­proach and let these is­sues be re­solved by the ex­perts.

Politi­cians should do the hon­ourable thing they have been elected for, that is, re­spond­ing by pro­vid­ing leg­is­la­tion, en­sur­ing that these ideas have ad­e­quate fund­ing and scru­ti­n­is­ing the de­ci­sion mak­ing and tak­ing – all the rest should be in the hands of pro­fes­sion­als and con­nois­seurs.

This, in my opin­ion, is a na­tional tragedy (or should I call it a farce)

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