*The following names and brands are completely fictitious.
It is a Saturday afternoon at a café along the Sliema front. Becky* and Cesca* glide through the door, with Gina Pellegrini* handbags strategically hung on their poised arms, and Alexander Pierre* sunglasses cutely perched on their surgically upturned noses.
They brandish their newly-released smart phones as they enter the café to reassure the respectable clientele that they do in fact belong there. As they walk in, they scan said clientele through their sunglasses to see if anyone from the usual clique is around. They sit themselves down.
Becky: Maa, how hot it is, ej?
Cesca: Maa, boiling hun. This humidity is really messing with my hair, madoff. At least I can keep the a/c running in the Mini, ej?
Becky: Maaa, can you believe like I had to service the Megane, this week? I’ve had to use the Smart, xi dwejjaq, how embarrassing, like.
Cesca: But u ejja, how sweet they are, the Smarts, ej? Pippa’s thinking of getting one, ta’ like.
Becky: Bis-serjeta? U ajma, she was bitching about it because it wasn’t eco-friendly enough last time at Sergio’s.
Cesca: U ajma, but that was to impress Seb hux? He’s hipster now, eh? So she’s got to, like.
Becky: Maaaa, basta she wants to become a feminist, and then she’s all over him like.
The above should give you a general idea of what I’m alluding to. The above depiction is what some of us might classify as tal-pepé. Most of my friends are actually pepé. Most of your friends are probably tal-pepé. It may even have dawned on you by now that you yourself could actually be tal-pepé.
Then again, you could relate more to this scenario:
Kyzia: Aw sbejħ, orrajt?
Shenizienne: Aw sess, xi ngħidu, bejb?
Kyzia: Ara l-oħra, ġejja bil-bejb. Mela ħa ssir pepé issa jew? Xi qżież jaq.
Shenizienne: Hux pepé dulur. Inżeggeg, man [pronounced ‘men’]. (She adjusts the very visible thong from under her camel-toe-creating leggings).
Kyzia: (adjusts her boobs which are just about encased in her double-padded bra bought from the monti) Aw, dak mhux Josmar? JOS! SABIIIĦ, XI NGĦIDU KING?
Josmar: (from the other end of the street) Aw bejbilajf! Orrajt żejża?!
Kyzia: Ommok żejża, ja ****. (To Shenizienne) Qaħba, x’inhu mazza, x’jagħmilli madoff man [pronounced ‘men’]. Taf kemm trassass miegħi fil-festa?
Writing this scene out really brought on my face of distaste, thus rendering me a pepé-consorting snob. So stone me.
I must admit that I approached this article with great trepidation, for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. I beg you not to be insulted by any of the remarks made in this article. If you have indeed taken offence, please know that I share traits from BOTH social groups. I have a daddy who hails from il-qiegħ tal-Marsa. The fact that I refer to him as ‘daddy’ is proof alone of the other trait. So I implore you to bear in mind that this is all tongue-in-cheek. Let us move closer to the ability of being able to laugh at ourselves and embrace our stereotypes.
Now that we have established the nature of this article, try to decide under which label you lie. Now, let’s take it a step further and do away with the word ‘label’. Let’s change it to ‘spectrum’. Do you veer towards the pepé or ħamallu side of our nation’s social spectrum? Or do you consider yourself to be more middle of the road?
There is praise and criticism to be dished out to both social groups. This often comes with reference to the common denominator that is our bilingualism. The confessions that many of us would like to make to both social groups should be constructive. They should be beneficial towards breaking down the social barrier that is hindering the progress of our island.
To the pepés:
Do not be so quick to judge. You do not have the right to make assumptions about people who you deem to be beneath you. Don’t be shocked at the fact that the person who speaks perfect English actually comes from a working class background and has socialist views. I once had a conversation with someone who couldn’t stomach the fact that a ‘Lejburista‘ went on the further her education abroad. If you share that sentiment, you’re being a d****. Nobody likes an elitist brat, not even the other elitist brats.
To the ħamalli:
Do not be so quick to judge. You do not have the right to make assumptions about people who you think are out there to belittle you. If that is the case, do not allow yourself to be belittled. However, this mustn’t be done by disparaging anyone who speaks in English instead of Maltese. They have as much right to speak in English as you have to speak in Maltese. You also have the right to further your education and learn and speak good English as the ‘pepés‘ you are so hostile towards. Do not throw your education away. Don’t give the elitists that satisfaction. Don’t make me get my face of distaste on.