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MALTATODAY 10 October 2021

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PHOTO BY MATTHEW BALL ON UNSPLASH maltatoday | SUNDAY • 10 OCTOBER 2021 COMMENT What are we skinning? The sudden, and suddenly mushrooming, presence of e-scooters around the island. Why are we skinning it? Because they seem to have caused quite the ruckus… enough for this very newspaper to commission an entire survey dedicated to them. What's so controversial about a scooter service? We're talking about the scooters you can rent (very) temporarily through ride-share apps and that you can dispose of pretty much anywhere after you're done with them. Sounds like a sweet deal, if you ask me. Not if you're a wheelchair user, or if you have to maneuver a pram on one of Malta's legendarily slim pavements. That's fair. Shouldn't people just learn to be more considerate? Asking individuals to self-regulate is like asking the construction industry – and, indeed, transportation providers - on the island to do the same. You think it hasn't worked in their case? I'll leave that up to you to decide. But surely, getting people accustomed to different modes of transportation is a good thing, given Malta's obsession with the private car? Sure. But e-scooters smack of a 'tech- bro' solution to that particular problem. How do you mean? It's the kind of initiative that would be workshopped and lab-tested, in its larval phase, somewhere akin to the corridors of Silicon Valley: where no generated ideas will actively challenge the free-market status quo, just play into it in a spit-polished way, and attempt to approach it from a fresh angle. Suit yourself. I'd rather have a flawed solution than an ideologically preferred nothingness. Enough dialectic, let's get back to the scooters. Yeah, I'd love to hop on one right now! Mainly to get away from you. The feeling is mutual, but I'll be walking – thanks. Do say: "E-scooters make sense on paper – a handy way to travel short distances on an island that is effectively one long chain of short distances taped together. But the reality on the ground (no pun intended) is rather different, and points to the problems redolent of an individualistic approach to basic social movement and behaviour." Don't say: "This is REALLY not the dystopia I had in mind." Averting a global mental health crisis CYRUS ENGERER PAGE 12 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down JOSANNE CASSAR This is what poverty looks like PAGE 6 MICHAEL FALZON A technocrat in the Cabinet PAGE 7 No 108 – E-Scooter racing SAVIOUR BALZAN One million in my pocket and other fantastic stories PAGES 4 & 5 EDITORIAL Taxation is about morality, too PAGE 2 "The advent of a global mental health crisis has required us to up our game. We need to think outside the box and look at new age solutions, for new age challenges"

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