We live on an island populated by Chalies and Beccas, but what does it actually mean to be ħamallu or pepe?
Some say that labels are for clothes. But if I had to tell most of those people that I’m from Scotland, the first thing they’d probably do is envisage me wearing a kilt and playing the bagpipes.
See, stereotypes may help us make sense of things we may not necessarily understand or fathom, but they’re also a lot of fun… So here are my favourite picks of Maltese stereotypes!
The Ħamallu – There are various things that define someone as a ħamallu. Wearing wife beaters out in public is one of them. Carrying a caged verdun everywhere you go is another. Sporting chunky gold chains or super-long gelish nails can also be damning. The interesting part is that being a ħamallu filters down to everything you do in life, from what music you blast from your pimped-out car to the name you give your child.
The Pepe – While anyone who lives in the Sliema-St Julian’s-Swieqi-Madliena area is, more often than not, instantaneously labelled as pepe, there are actual factors that determine whether you fit this demographic. Pepe people tend to not speak in Maltese, yet their English is laced with Maltisms and intonation, particularly when it comes to asking questions. The pepe also tend to drive a Fiat Five Hundred as opposed to a Fiat Cinque Cento, and they’ll have attended specific schools, too. The more private the schools, the higher the level of pepe.
The Ħamalli-Pepe – Indeed, not all pepe are pepe enough. Some pepe people only speak in English, but they sport their super-long gelish nails. They also like to show off their assets, be it material or physical. So you’ll find them in Paceville wearing a belt for a skirt, or blasting Euphoria from their Audi A4. Do they have the best of both worlds or the worst of both worlds? Well… That’s in your hands to decide.
The Politically Obsessed – Profile pictures with their party’s logo, long statuses hailing their party leader, and albums entitled “Mass Meeting…” are all signs of this. They’ll support their party of choice – or was it the party that chose them? – till they die, and they want everyone to know that they’ll die for their leaders, too. Are they blind? Are they heroes? Are they loyal? Who knows? At least, they’ve got their convictions…right?
Having said all this, there’s definitely something unique about our stereotypes, making Malta a bright and lively country. So, long live the Maltese stereotype!
Do you agree with James’s descriptions of the Maltese stereotype? Is there anything you’d have added?
Let us know in the comment section below.