Thursday, December 31, 2009

And so a new decade begins...

I'm always surprised by the contrasting realities that surface when I stop to analyse another year gone by. The fact that the year that passed seemed so short and at the same time was the outlet for so many different events in my life, baffles me. I will not say it was a bad year because that is what I said for 2008 and yet halfway through that year I finally moved house to a better neighbourhood and won a trip to the MTV Europe Music Awards in Liverpool. I'm not the one to brag but...damn, that was sweet!!

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that no matter the amount of go
od fortune that meets us in a particular year we always somehow manage to overshadow that with the bad moments. The truth is that life isn't perfect and something is bound to go wrong. Of course, if you are a spontaneous spirit who plans ahead but then still changes plans every few weeks, you're more prone to disappointment. Not to mention, being a perfectionist and unintentional diva! Oh, these are not words of low self-esteem, my friends. I'm just discovering my true nature as I grow older.

The bottom line is that a 'good' or 'bad' year should only be taken as a reminder that we never really do get it right no mat
ter how hard we try and that sometimes we're spot on perfect without even trying. Such is the irony of life. From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank all my friends and family for helping me survive another year. Living ain't easy. There are a lot of things that can get you down. With support and love to share, life is more worthwhile. Happy New Year 2010.

Peace,
T

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And now for the best of 2009:-


8. M.I.A's style

No woman has inspired me this year as much as this politically-opinionated-colour-clash-urban-chic wearing Sri Lankan native. Well, at least style-wise of course.Despite coming from a culture that has fascinated me since the age of ten, she is THE style icon of 2009 - mos' def! I love everything about her style - from her short wavy toussled hair to her Tetris cube inspired finger nail art. I seriously want a watermelon slice oversized tie-dye t-shirt like the one she is wearing in her BIRD FLU video (click on Bird Flu to watch video). Her style is very personal though and not easy to work with the chic-factor she manages to achieve. So, I'll just sit back in awe or just make me my own watermelon t-shirt!

7. Meeting new people

This may seem like nothing special but every year I look back at the new friends I made and the interesting people I met because meeting new people is always fun. You learn new things about yourself and others that you never really knew. Also, my mum is foreign and I don't really know my cousins from her side. 2009 was the year I started fresh and long lasting contacts with these cousins. I even met some abroad more than once. It's a great feeling meeting family you've never met before but always knew were there.

6. Insite

There's a student media organisation at the University I go to that I had been a fan of for the last four years. I had always wanted to be part of this experience and the chance came to me quite by luck. Now since I've joined I've met such lovely people in the media world and realised by dream of working in a media house. We're not a bunch of professionals but we can boast that we have a 9 year publication, TV crew and programmes, website and the legendary IC Weekend under our belt. Looking forward to further positive results for 2010.

5. Following my dreams

Ahh, this year I just went berserk, went on three vacations in the past 12 months and decided to spend my time and money on things that I've been wanting to do forever! It seems that when I realised I'm approaching 20 and towards the end of my degree I went on a wild dream chase, ticking off my ever growing To-do list. First, it started with choir
class where I got to sing a solo twice. Then, it went on to bellydance lessons and finally Arabic language classes. I don't know what got over me. I think I'm going through a quarter life crisis. (click link) Help?

4. Blur reunited and Pearl Jam back on tour

This news is both good and bad. Good, cause these bands are two of my greatest childhood musical influences. Bad, cause one of them I didn't manage to see on tour and are not going to tour again, while the other I seriously doubt I will manage to see on tour next year. Due to the above-men
tioned quarter life crisis I am now broke till the end of my degree. Yes, that is June 2011!!! FML.

3. Falling in Love

You would think that this would take the number one spot. Keep reading...

2. Visiting Amsterdam and Dublin

This was the best holiday ever with around 60 friends
from all over Europe in a boathouse in a harbour in Amsterdam including an exclusive private party sponsored by Sony Ericsson in a central night club, coffee shop adventures, a 13 hour pitstop in Dublin with a bunch of young and hot newly graduated Austrian engineers and a night drinking Guinness in the famous Temple Bar. Pure Bliss.


1. And the number one spot goes to...

Seeing MUSE live at the O2 arena in London!! Just effin unbelievable. I can't even describe the feeling. Sold out arena, state o
f the art lights and graphics show, Matt Bellamy playing the piano, Chris and Dom doing their thang, the largest mosh pits I've ever seen and a free after party at Matter Club featuring Hadouken. Need I say more?

And the worst of 2009:-



3. Michael Jackson Gone

The media have coined this year as the '
Year of the Dead Celebrity'. I don't think that's a very nice te
rm to use but it pretty much sums up the bizarre chain of deaths that have been occuring since Heath Ledger's death in January 2008 and the most recent deaths of Brittany Murphy and The Rev who died a week from each other. However, the one departure I took personally was Michael Jackson's. His death came at a difficult time for me and totally took me by surprise. Not to mention the mean jokes everyone was telling me since they knew I was a fan. I think the loveliest feeling was seeing all his fans sticking together in solidarity. I can't remember the hours I spent following news reports and ceremonies in his honour. It was a sad moment. He was only 50. True icons never die. May his music live forever.

2. Major burnout

I've come to the conclusion that once every year I crack. Halfway through 2009 I decided that I'd had enough of life and will lock myself away from society. First off, I've spent a record amount of money on my personal health problems in one year like never before. Then I was working three jobs and studying all summer for two resits. Finally, I realised that the man I fell in love with was not the man I thought he was. Which leads to the number one spot...


1. Breaking up

It sucks. And not because I love being in a relationship. Actually, I'm very happy being able to do what I do and putting myself first. Not because I'm selfish. But I'm very self aware of my influence on the people and world around me. I like to socialise and do my bit for society. I like to travel, meet new people and party. I am very ambitious and career oriented. Still, it sucked big time because I could not admit that I had fallen out of love. In fact, I only totally got over it a month ago. It takes a real woman to admit that, even though I'm the one who called it a day. Oh well, you live a learn.


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Monday, August 3, 2009

NEW ALBUMS for 2009


So many months back I released some information on the new albums and tours by Green Day and U2. The two seem to have got quite the hype going on and are both on tour at the moment. Both started working on the albums in 2006 so fans had got quite excited after three years!! Generally, reviews have been positive but not as great as anticipated. Green Day's '21st Century Breakdown' is a continuation of their last album 'American Idiot' and is a concept album. As much as I love my concept albums, I'm not feeling this one 100%. The songs are enjoyable but not as great as American Idiot. That's a hard album to match. Still, Green Day remain that punk rock band that everyone loves to love. So, whatever they do, it's bound to be liked. As for U2's 'No Line on the Horizon', I can't say the album is as EPIC as Bono said it would be but it's got a familiar charm to it which only they can create. We'll see how the albums fair towards the end of the summer...

And now for some good news which you have undoubtedly already heard about. MUSE are back and they're bigger than ever!! The guys have long announced their tour dates for the winter and have been updating fans continuously through Twitter. The album is called 'The Resistance' and tickets to many venues are already sold out. The first official track to be announced was 'United States of Eurasia' and is absolutely mental!! To be honest, this is the best news for me this year seeing as I'm a huge MUSE fan and missed them at the Wembley back in 2007. I will be seeing the guys LIVE at the 02 Arena in November and can't wait to review them. Be sure to check in for that one. Reviews have been mixed. Some fans fear that the band may be tryin to copy Queen especially in the USOE track while others enjoy the change in style. Personally, I think USOE is a beautifully sweeping track, which although reminds me of Queen, still has the signature Muse piano, waltz, ballad notes. Also, the addition of Arabic influences is stunning!! I can't wait to listen to the rest of the album! :D

Will be back soon with updates on who, what and where is in this year ;)

Peace,

Tammy xx

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Black Cherry's BACK!!


Did you miss me?

Well, I sure did! ;-)

Blogging is a great way to keep your writing skills fresh and it broadens your knowledge. When I'm blogging, I'm researching writing material and learning new things at the same time. Also, I'm teaching and entertaining the reader. That's why I love it so much.

Before I get on track with my summer updates I'd like to apologise for the lengthy delay. I always wanted to keep the blog content here regular. This blog is almost 10 months old and it's really opened up my world. I have received a lot of positive attention through my articles and hope to keep doing so. The readers who always looked forward to my publications were definitely dissapointed when things took a sudden halt! But, circumstances in life mean you can't always keep the ball rolling. I had big plans for this blog and will strive to continue trying to reach that potential. However, whatever I'm occupying my time with, it is always something productive to society. I hope you appreciate my efforts and have a great summer!


NOW FOR THE JUICY MATERIAL!

One of the most anticipated events this summer is definitely the arrival of hip hop artist IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE - an event hosted by No Bling Show (http://www.myspace.com/noblingshow).



For all those who are not into Hip Hop, you would still do your favour attending this event. Immortal is an eye-opener in times of delusion. His songs are mostly political and his method of storytelling with rap is impeccable. You can't NOT appreciate this guy's message and delivery.

He describes himself as a 'political guerilla' and has been influencing people to be active in political issues since 2001 when he released his first album REVOLUTIONARY Vol. 1. The album contains the underground classic 'Dance With The Devil'. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dRgYd5Mxs0

The event will be supported by the winner of No Bling Show's MC Battle or the 'best party of the century' as quoted by Jon. hehe. The guy's called Rumbull and he's a mean rapper in the native tongue. Rapping in Maltese is not the easiest of tasks...

Other acts still have to be announced.


Date: 5th July 2009

Time: 8pm

Location: Pembroke Ground (to be confirmed)

Price: 20euro normal tickets, 30euro VIP (includes a private meet n greet for 100 fans and Immortal will sign your merchandise and pose for pictures)

Contact: 79007775 or 99403621
Email:
xnaqsek@noblingshow.com



SEE YA THERE!!!

Peace out!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Student Protest UPDATE 1


It seems that since I've posted the blog below the UMASA has decided to lift directives and Government will resume negotiations.

Let's hope it's not too late to restore our exam timetable back to normal and carry on with our lives.

Let the sunshine in for 2009! ;-)

Read more on http://insiteronline.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=370:umasa-lifts-directives&catid=1:news&Itemid=1

"All in all it's just another brick in the wall"



Or is it?

When Roger Waters was busy penning the lyrics to one of the most influential albums in music history along with his group members, little did he know the extent to which those lyrics would inspire thousands of music listeners the world over.

Let's take 'Another Brick in the Wall.'

"WE DON'T NEED NO EDUCATION!" chant the dozen or so school-children in the well-known music video, who were sick and tired of their rigid schooling. Who did their teachers think they are? Mindless puppets without valid thoughts or opinions? This song was an outcry to the dictatorship that teachers made out of their position in those days.

But what does this phrase mean today?

If any of you followed the movie to this album you would know that the whole record is a concept album centred around the journey we know as 'Life'. If you didn't you've probably realised anyway. The 'Wall' is typically that invisible barrier we build around ourselves to block out all the negative events we experience in our life from childhood up to adulthood. The 'Brick' is one of life's challenges that we push aside to move ahead. So, in this context, was this protest song just another test of life that one had to go through? It must be more than just that.

Think about it.

Countries have banned this song because it opened student's eyes to the lack of liberty and freedom in schools. A lack of self-expression. A lack of rights. Where in some parts of the world this was just a cheeky anthem of school rebellion, in others this was a message of respect to the dignity of the child.

Now let's consider Malta. Today. January 7th, 2009.

It was 9.50am and I was standing outside the Common Room of the University of Malta waiting for many angry students to show up. It was raining outside and the room was filled with picket signs. The weather meant we would be rallying indoors. Original.

I had never been to a protest before. I was imagining marching students with froth at their mouths ready to hog some TV station's camera and ramble about what's wrong with this government. Alas, yesterday's good weather clouded my perception. Indoors it was. And boy was it rowdy!

Horns a-blowing! Picket signs held high. There was no space for all the protestors and media people. Still, the President of KSU (Kunsill Studenti Universitarji), Roberta Avellino, walked in and started her long but firm speech voicing her message on behalf of all University and Junior College students. Along with her was the President of the Junior College Student Council and a representative of all the Erasmus and International students.

Here is a re-cap of the events that led to today's rally:-

Early 2008: An MUT directive was issued by UMASA to prevent lecturers from releasing exam paper results. Some students wait till August or even September to get all their results!

Three months ago, lecturers symbolically strike for one day cancelling all lectures in the process.

16th December 2008: The UMASA issue FOUR MUT directives for academic staff at the University of Malta and Junior College. One of them is the withholding of all exam papers for the end of semester examination sessions.

The KSU, several student organisations, UOM students and the general public have had the last straw!

And all this because of a disagreement regarding a collective agreement between Government and the MUT which should have been resolved months ago.

The PROBLEM = (Government keeps backing up x Lecturers demand their rights by USING students as a BARGAINING tool) + 2(Students suffer) + Lecturers remain empty-handed

The repurcussions of the above-mentioned directive are the following:

a) Exams may have to be moved with the end of second semester examinations session sometime in June, July or even as late as September.

b) Second semester timetables will take long to come out because the second semester would most probably be critically shortened.

c) We might have to do exams in either our Easter or Summer holidays.

d) Erasmus and International students who are here under contract with the Government, their work bosses and landlords have already paid for expenses and cannot be granted more money to stay longer than their contractual terms allow them to.

e) Foreign students cannot come back again for exams because they might have their own exams in their own country and also this will cost them a lot of money. This is especially a sensitive issue to students from outside the EU, e.g. China and the USA.

f) If a foreign student cannot come back to Malta for exams this means they do not earn their credits which means they would have to fail or repeat a year. Don't forget, these students PAY for their higher education. This would be a waste of time and money for them, let alone lost job opportunities and a tainted degree.

g) Maltese and international employers might not accept a degree earned through pass marks due to higher education strikes and they have every right to do so.

And if that were not enough, check out the three other directives that were issued:-

1) BOYCOTT all University and Junior College faculty boards and the Senate - this is very serious because even the tiniest complaint or request must pass through the Senate. Also, we can't even get international examiners to help us because this would require approval from the Senate. Maltese students waiting for answers regarding their thesis or placements cannot get a reply because all faculty boards are suspended. That's a last year to remember.

2) STOP all work on the introduction of new courses and new examination assessment procedures - this is a disadvantage to Junior College students and all other students who were going to enter a new course but will now have to wait longer or else be forced to choose another course.

3) WITHHOLD results related to continuous assessment components - without results for assessments throughout the semester how can students be given a true overall mark! All the assignments and lectures attended would have been for nothing.



This is NOT just another brick in the wall.



And, as I listened on to the KSU president's speech, I couldn't help but wonder how many more directives would pop up in the future even if these four were dropped.

I am only in the second year of my degree and like many others, I have already been affected three times in the last 10 months by union directives and strikes.

We don't need NO education. We need AN education. One that complements the centre of excellence that the government wants to achieve.

Not only must we fight for our rights as students but our lecturers must also be satisfied in their plea for justice.

To reduce these intellectuals to such a sorry state of negotiation and students who are literally begging for their exams to take place, presents a crazy mixed-up image of the state of education in Malta.

Do you remember that Pink Floyd video I mentioned earlier? Think of that scene with the military march of the hammers.

Well, if lecturers really want to use us as a tool, I say let's be that tool. Let's be the hammer.

PUT THE HAMMER DOWN and keep it there this new year. Make sure students don't fall into the same trap again and again. We can't keep building bricks around ourselves. It's time to break down some walls and take action!

And that goes for all public institutions that deny your rights and hide the truth for their own private agendas. Show 'em who's boss or it's your own loss!

This my friends, is my message for 2009.

May it very well be a prosperous year to one and all...Happy New Year!



Tammy X

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Sign the online petition against the directives on http://www.ksu.org.mt/ before it's too late!!

AND HERE IS THE OFFICIAL DOCUMENT TO THE MUT DIRECTIVES ----> http://www.mut.org.mt/Directives-Dec-2008.pdf