Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Bears of Melitamalata

Lately I heard this story……

In a little country far away from here called Melitamalata, lived three bears. One was called Bonnie, the other Ceffi and the third Paciflor. Quite eccentric, the three of them, but whoever knew them thought “They’re good bears”. The bears had known each other for quite a long time. They had a lot of things in common. Two had no hair (the third was nearly there), two had hairy backs (of the Bearus Hairus Hafnus type) all of them believed in science, but most of all they shared a love for art. Bonnie loved photographs, quite a good photographer himself, Ceffi was a painter and Paciflor was a brilliant calligrapher.

Once, they decided to put up an exhibition. Not a small feat, since in Melitamalata any artistic venture is not easy to produce. First they had to decide on a theme. They called their exhibition “imwejjed ta erba’ figuri”. Secondly they had to find a venue. After a lot of closed doors they found one open. A very old theatre called “Teatru ta’ Leli” offered to host their exhibition.

Let me explain some things about this theatre: In the early 18th century, a local chieftain called Toni-Leli ta’ Villa-Hena decided to build this theatre “for the honest recreation of the people”. 300 years later this theatre is still being used regularly. The theatre had a bookshop, a cafeteria, a wine bar and a beautiful courtyard where exhibitions can be held. Though the facilities are not state of the art the ambience of the magnificent building makes up for any deficiency in amenities. The bookshop was run by a shady character called Gambalunga, who usually organized the exhibitions in this courtyard. A few weeks before the exhibitions by the three bears Gambalunga closed his shop and vanished.

A lot of stories were being told why Gambalunga closed the shop but none could be confirmed. No one informed the bears about this and as soon as they found out, they were in shock since Gambalunga was their only contact. The panic stricken bears made all necessary contacts with the management of the theatre so that the exhibition could be held. Everything was confirmed and the bears had their opening night as scheduled.

So far so good, until 5 days after the opening night, something extraordinary happened. Someone decided that it was time to restore the glass canopy that shelters the courtyard. Well what’s wrong with that you’d say? nothing really except that the courtyard was booked for 20 days by these bears and all of a sudden the area was transformed into a building site.

The problem in Melitamalata is that no one is responsible or accountable for what they do. And no one really cares about how their decisions affect other people. No one informed the bears that a scaffold was to be erected in the courtyard. No one dared to inform the bears that they had to move their exhibits to a safer place, though some of the staff working at the theatre moved the exhibits without the bears’ permission.

In sharp contrast with the Goldilocks story, no one knows who the little girl with the golden hair is. Funnily enough no one seemed to be responsible for all this. “Heq it had to be done hux.” What’s the big deal about disrupting an exhibition? Who cares that the bears spent a whole year preparing for this event. Who cares that the bears spent thousands of Liri to organise all this. No one does. I heard that as compensation the bears were offered to keep their works in the cafeteria for a longer period. The only problem is that the cafeteria opens only half days and people going to the exhibition are finding it closed.

Some of you might think that Melitamalata is a sickening country, well I think that too.

Luckily for us Malta is not. Things like these never happen in Malta.


wwwitchie said...

I salute you. You seem to have found your voice as a writer. :-)

Gef said...

In the day and age where people are so secretive I really appreciate you sharing your true thoughts.

Sean Cody