x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

A proud moment for Australia

The swearing-in of Ed Husic, Australia's first Muslim cabinet member, was a great moment for the country, writes Australia's ambassador to the UAE. Other letter topics: subsidies, car parks, Uttarakhand, children and jobs.

A reader says that Ed Husic's oath-taking marked a great moment for multiculturalism in Australia. Lucas Coch / EPA
A reader says that Ed Husic's oath-taking marked a great moment for multiculturalism in Australia. Lucas Coch / EPA

Australia turns a new leaf with the first Muslim MP

As the editorial Muslim MP's milestone (July 2) noted, it was a proud and historic moment on Monday for Australia, with the swearing in of its first Muslim member of the Cabinet, Ed Husic.

The only surprise is that it has taken this long. Islam is the second fastest-growing religion in Australia with close to half a million followers. Every country has its issues, but Australia of today is a remarkably tolerant and multicultural society compared to many other countries, where the son of Bosnian Muslim immigrants can rise to one of the most important offices.

Pablo Kang, Ambassador of Australia to the UAE and Qatar

Subsidy for the novelists is risky

I enjoyed reading the opinion article Subsidise novelists to bolster literary culture of the UAE (July 1) by Ayesha Al Mazroui.

I agree with much of what the writer said. But one of the suggestions - to subsidise potential novelists - carries significant problems as we have learnt in the film sector.

The Emirates Foundation and other Abu Dhabi organisations tried a similar approach to support Emiratis aspiring to a career in the film business by giving them grants to produce short films. These grants came with no supervision or controls. Consequently, many short films were made, but few professional lessons were learnt.

Young Emiratis, whose CVs included a single short film, were suddenly introducing themselves as "filmmakers" and actually believed they were.

This approach ruined the futures of many talented young filmmakers because they developed a sense of entitlement and never had the opportunity to learn the difficult lessons of real-world filmmaking. Nowhere are real filmmakers given money with no controls and no supervision.

Twofour54 and Image Nation, along with other potential film funders such as DIFF, have worked hard to reverse this process in a way that both supports aspiring filmmakers and prepares them for working in the real world. Consequently, we are slowly building the foundations of a motion picture and television industry on a sustainable basis.

We should not repeat these mistakes in trying to bolster the literary culture of the UAE, which we all agree is an important and necessary goal.

Michael Garin, Abu Dhabi

Include car parks in new buildings

I refer to the news report Mawaqif paid parking in new area of Abu Dhabi (July 1).

With the city growing, I think it's about time the authorities introduced laws that would bind landlords to ensure underground parking areas in new residential buildings.

Such a move will curb residential parking woes. New buildings in Abu Dhabi do have underground car parks, but not in suburbs such as Mohammed Bin Zayed City and Khalifa City.

Amir Nawaz, Abu Dhabi

Uttarakhand job could be better

I am responding to the news article Mass cremations held for 'Himalayan tsunami' victims (June 28).

Although thousands of people were saved in Uttarakhand by soldiers and personnel from India's National Disaster Management Authority, too many people perished in the natural disaster.

Unfortunately, the bodies had to be disposed of in the affected areas.

I am sure this scenario could have been averted to a large extent with better coordination and timely action by the government.

K Ragavan, India

Exercise more control on kids

I am commenting on the news report Kissing teens to be deported from the UAE (June 25).

This is not about respecting the law, but it has more to do with the basic notion of modesty. What makes it worse is that teenagers are now exposed to adult contents at a young age, thanks to smartphone apps.

There is no restriction anywhere. This particular incident, however, also reflects bad parenting.

Abdul Khaliq, Abu Dhabi

Government jobs are tempting

The pay in the government sector in the UAE is better than that of the private sector (Abu Dhabi faces burden of Emiratisation as nationals shy away from private-sector jobs, June 17). It also offers so many perks. So it's not surprising that Emiratis don't want to join the private sector.

I work in the private sector and we are constantly having our workload and hours increased and we're on low pay (compared to the government sector). I've not had a pay raise in more than two years despite increased cost of living.

The key is not to offer comfort and security in government jobs. If I could get one, I would do the same.

Irwin Fletcher, Dubai