“Why are the Maltese so competitive?” asks the BBC?

According to an article published on Tuesday by the BBC’s travel section, the Maltese ‘pika’ (which does not have an exact English translation; perhaps the closest is ‘competitiveness’ or ‘rivalry’ or, borrowed from the French vernacular, ‘pique’) is the cornerstone of the fiercely competitive nature of the Maltese.

Or as anthropologist and professor at the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology Mario Cardona states in the article, “Pika is the need to keep making things bigger in order to outdo your rival.”

The article, written by Justin Calderon, also quotes Professor George Cassar, who teaches heritage and cultural tourism at the University of Malta, who says that this may range from benign sportsmanship to premeditated aggression.

“Pika is what drove the Maltese in 1958 to tear down and rebuild the Carmelite Basilica that today defines Valletta’s horizon with a 42m-high dome, just to overshadow the Anglican Cathedral next door,” he says.

The full article may be accessed here.