The article Leave them speechless: dealing with an audience, February 27, is very interesting. As a member of the Abu Dhabi Chapter of Toastmasters, it gives me a feeling of pride to belong to this great group, which over a decade has produced some wonderful speakers and great leaders.
The ambience in Abu Dhabi is what makes it a very endearing and lovable chapter. Emphasis is given not only to communication skills and leadership qualities but also towards community development in the form of youth leadership programmes, speech craft programmes and educational sessions on public speaking.
Salim Sayyid, Abu Dhabi
A cautionary tale on taking taxis
With regard to Taxi passengers taken for a ride (Feburary 27): I fly weekly out of the Dubai airport and similar things are happening there.
There are seldom saloon taxis, only minivans and female-only taxis queued up, which both cost more. Only after protesting for a saloon and assurances that "it's the same thing", one will reluctantly be called (even though it takes two minutes for a saloon car to arrive). While the difference in fare isn't as much as reported with the private-hire taxis in Abu Dhabi, it seems a scam nonetheless.
The other trick seems to be that taxi drivers experience "problems" with the meter shortly after leaving the airport. This requires a return around the terminal. Just after making the exit to loop back, the meter miraculously starts working, but you get a charge for an additional two-kilometre detour. This has happened to me twice in the last month.
Incidentally, both scams disappear with remarkable haste if you whip out your phone and snap a photo of their ID. Make it obvious what you're doing. Your luggage will even get carried to the door.
Bill S, Abu Dhabi
The 'constant' in Libya must go
You speak rubbish in your article, Qaddafi remains one of few constants for troubled Libya (February 27).
The only reason Muammar Qaddafi is a "constant" is that he and his family continue to suppress, kill and torture the Libyan people. That is not the type of "constant" that Libya needs.
Libya needs a constant and proper democracy without Col Qaddafi or his family having anything to do with it.
Faris Khan, Dubai
Wrong label on 'Arabs' of Israel
I just got around to reading last week's magazine cover story, Identity Crisis (February 20), and so my letter to your newspaper is one week late. Still, I had to write if only in the hope that I could communicate my thoughts.
The only people with a so-called "identity crisis" are the Israelis. Throughout his offensive article, the author refers to Palestinians as the "Arabs" of Israel. Israelis have succeeded in erasing that term from their vocabulary. Palestinians of Israel cannot refer to themselves publicly as Palestinian.
In case the author missed it, and he clearly did, the "Arabs" of 1948 are the remaining Palestinians whom Israel country robbed of their identity and history.
Israelis continue to live in their "ethno-exclusive religious" bubble. But what is The National's excuse in supporting this? It is a tragedy that, now in the Arab world, Palestinians don't even have the rhetoric of support like they used to.
Rana El Khatib, Abu Dhabi
Better advising on financial matters
Regarding Best financial advisers invest in investors (February 25): you have failed to focus on one of the most important issues: qualificiations. Qualifying practitioners only in basic skills is a waste of time and readers should be told about the right questions to ask.
People in the UAE deserve to be told more about unqualified socalled advisers. This could have been a more useful article if you had asked the right people.
Penny Badminton, Dubai
Circus show not the cat's meow
"When not performing, the lions look bored in their cages. Bushara, a female, snarls in discontent before she is silenced by a look from her trainer. The tiger, Madamoiselle Manuela, looks positively depressed."
This quote from Big cats show up at RAK circus after Egypt delays (February 27) is awful.
Is this the kind of message we want to send to our children? Imprison animals and beat them with a whip to perform against their will?
Name Withheld by Request