L-attività li fiha l-Manneken Pis fi Brussell tlibbes ta’ Kavallier ta’ Malta waqt li “jagħmel” il-birra Cisk Lager ma ntlaqgħetx tajjeb minn kulħadd f’Malta. Illum dehru żewġ ittri fis-Sunday Times. Kien hemm ittra ta’ James A. Marples minn Texas fl-Istati Uniti u l-oħra minn Philip Farrugia-Randon. Marples jemmen li l-għażla tal-promoturi tac-Cisk li il-Manneken Pis jagħmel il-birra kienet, fil-fatt, promozzjoni ħażina għal din il-birra. Farrugia-Randon ħass li t-tlibbis tal-istatwa ta’ Kavallier tonqos lill-Ordni Militari Sovran ta’ Malta.Din l-ittra ta’ Marples:
I read your news item ‘Manneken Pis ‘serves’ Cisk’ (June 20). I am glad that the centuries-old statue has been dressed up as a Knight of Malta, so that the Belgian people as well as worldwide travellers can pause for a moment to reflect upon the valuable contributions of the Order of St John.
For the most part, the pictures of the newly clothed Manneken Pis adorned in the cape of a Knight of Malta look discreet. Yet, the dispensing of Cisk Lager is still making me wonder about its overall appropriateness and propriety.
The statue of the Manneken Pis (literally, ‘the little peeing boy’) is meant to be a representation of the human form. To adorn it further by clothing it in human garb gives it an added ‘humanity’ (for lack of a better word). Dispensing water from a fountain is fine.
But, when a statue takes on increasingly ‘lifelike’ or human qualities, where do we draw the line? Will dairy producers next have the Manneken Pis dispensing milk? Would that be viewed as objectionable?
The lager was dispensed through a spout which was the sculptor’s rendering of a little boy’s penis, which would naturally emit urine, liquid waste emitted from the body.
Cisk may be a fine lager. But I feel more dignity could have been preserved by this commemoration. Cisk volunteers could have poured glasses or bottles of their product to give out to bystanders. That alternative would have been a fine showcase for their product.
Giving the statue too many human attributes should be a clear warning to marketers to be extra careful about the context in which their product is beheld. Good marketing schemes can be pleasing and popular; while ill-conceived marketing initiatives can be, well, distasteful.
U din l-ittra ta’ Farrugia-Randon:
I have read the news item on the Mannekin Pis and confess that I have found the whole matter in very bad taste.
While the Order of the Knights of Malta, with its 12,500 members, 80,000 trained volunteers and 20,000 employees are very busy operating in more than 120 countries, offering medical and social assistance, disaster relief in armed conflicts and natural catastrophes, emergency services and first aid corps, help for the elderly, the handicapped and children in need, first aid training, and support for refugees and internally displaced people regardless of race, origin or religion, the Maltese Embassy in Brussels thought it fit to make the peeing boy fountain in Brussels wear Knight of Malta attire.
What bad taste! Bad taste indeed!