x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Beyond party politics

A reader says Michael Bloomberg's endorsement of Barack Obama is a positive sign. Other letter topics: child protection, public misbehaviour and English lessons.

Michael Bloomberg's endorsement of Barack Obama is a positive political sign, a reader says. Stan Honda / AFP
Michael Bloomberg's endorsement of Barack Obama is a positive political sign, a reader says. Stan Honda / AFP

Savile case puts a global focus on child protection

Stranger danger undercut by Savile (November 3) highlights an important, and seemingly growing, global issue.

Very often sexual predators are known to the family of their victims; sometimes they are even related. They are people who deliberately work their way into positions of trust.

In the case of Jimmy Savile, the perpetrator was a national icon - a man who the British public viewed as a kind of eccentric uncle. He certainly proved that not all eccentrics are harmless.

The story rightly refers to the need to build proper child-protection systems.

I know great strides have been made recently in the UAE on a range of child-safety issues, and I urge the authorities to encourage awareness by children and their parents of potential predators.

While there is no need for a witch hunt, there is every need for vigilance when it comes to who is left alone with your child.

Jane Rogers, Dubai

Moving beyond party politics

Politics is a strange beast, so I was not surprised to read that Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York and a former Republican, has endorsed the Democrat incumbent in Tuesday's US presidential election (Bloomberg comes out for Obama, November 2).

I won't say if I agree with Mr Bloomberg's assessment, but I do admire him for acknowledging that not all wisdom resides on one side of politics.

The problem with two- or three-party democracies, as they have in America, the UK, Australia and elsewhere, is that too many people get welded to an ideology and don't assess issues or candidates on their individual merits.

After all, 90 per cent of what governments do has nothing at all to do with politics.

Peter Clay, Abu Dhabi

English lessons should start early

As somebody who can read and write only one language, I cannot really comprehend how difficult it is to master another.

I do know, however, that I am fortunate that my native language is English. For better or worse, it has taken over the world - and that's why I applaud the decision referred to in Zayed students to spend longer on their remedial English courses (November 3).

However, I understand that it is easier for younger children to learn another language than for adults, and I have encountered many pre-teenage children in the UAE who can speak two languages - generally the tongues of their parents - with equal ability.

I know that some Emirati parents want their children to be taught in exclusively their own language, but the reality is that they must be proficient in Arabic and English.

Ian Dunn, Abu Dhabi


Embarrassed by drunken behaviour


I'm not a stick in the mud by any means, but I just knew after reading the first sentence of Drunk tourist caused taxi to crash, then ran off (November 3) that either the word "British" or "Briton" was going to appear.

I find it slightly embarrassing telling people I'm British.

Could that have something to do with the proliferation of stories of drunken buffoonery by Brits in the UAE?

Too many of my countrymen and women don't think they have had a good time unless they have consumed so much alcohol that they have trouble standing on their own two feet by the end of the night.

N Powell, Dubai

Coverage fit for an ochlophobe

Thanks to The National for its updates on the F1 race and related entertainment programme.

As I have a phobia against immersing myself in large crowds, I'm pleased I can follow the action in the newspaper and online.

James Peterson, Abu Dhabi

Mentoring is the path to success

In reference to Winning blend of age and experience (November 1), an age-gap is really healthy in a mentoring relationship.

It allows the two people to connect on a deeper level, as an elder does with a child. Mentoring is an incredible resource that everyone should take advantage of.

T Manner, Dubai

Talking animals stretch credulity

Surely I am not the only reader who thinks Talking elephant uses the trunk line (November 3) is, at best, simply a case of wishful thinking on the part of the animal's trainer.

Such stories remind me of the dog who could reply to any question in English - as long as the answer was "rough" or "roof".

Colin Richards, Abu Dhabi