x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Big Bang theory of science education

A reader praises the Abu Dhabi Science Festival for inspiring young minds. Other topics: water births, Hugo Chavez and Christo.

A reader praises the Abu Dhabi Science Festival for encouraging children to study science. Mica Colace / The National
A reader praises the Abu Dhabi Science Festival for encouraging children to study science. Mica Colace / The National

Chavez has the common touch

Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez has once again clinched victory and will have another six years in power (Chavez's rule at risk in close poll, October 8).

Mr Chavez has been president of this Latin American country for more than a decade now and, despite strong opposition from the emerging rival parties, he continues to be the choice of the majority of Venezuelans.

Mr Chavez has been successful in his efforts to address the issues of the common people, and this has helped to narrow the gap between the rich and poor.

There are lessons to be learnt from his success, especially for countries where people are demanding a change in leadership.

It was interesting to note that the key opposition parties in Venezuela have called for unity and pledged to work together with Mr Chavez's government under a "one country" concept.

This should ensure the South American nation receives much more attention and recognition from across the globe.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman


Pros and cons of water births

I enjoyed reading Rachel Lewis's article, How to get the birth you want (October 1).

The article gives good advice to expectant mothers about drawing up a birthing plan, taking prenatal classes and being cautious about their health.

It also says that water births were introduced to the UAE last year, and that they can shorten the length of labour and reduce labour pain considerably.

I would like to see another article that elaborates on this important matter.

Most Arabs value tradition, and would therefore tend to opt for a conventional hospital birth. On average, how many Arabs are utilising the water-birth option?

Perhaps mothers would be anxious about the baby drowning. They might also feel concern that the patient would not benefit from proper medical treatment should a complication occur during delivery.

It would be nice to hear some statistics about the nationalities opting for water births, because I suspect that it would mostly be westerners, since the concept of this type of birth is not new to them.

The article quotes a midwife explaining that water births reduce the pain of labour by 60 to 70 per cent due to the warm water temperature.

I know that women who opt for water births usually refuse an epidural, but I would like to hear from a woman with at least two children who has experienced both a hospital birth with an epidural and a water birth without one.

She could compare which of the two has provided her with the most overall satisfaction and pain relief.

Dana Husam Abdallah, Sharjah

Christo welcome to create art here

It was a real thrill to see the artist Christo at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival on Friday.

The films shown, about him and his late wife Jeanne-Claude and their work, were fascinating. What a remarkable pair of free spirits.

It is very exciting that he is now trying to develop a project in Abu Dhabi. It would be wonderful to have one of Christo's projects in this country.

Anne Duncan, Abu Dhabi

Big bang theory of science education

Thanks for the article and photograph, Explosive action at annual science festival (October 14).

The study of science is extremely important for young people, and especially so in an emerging country such as the UAE.

Of course, there is no better way to engage a child's interest than by creating a big explosion - but that is only a beginning.

I hope a good number of those youngsters in the audience for David Cannell's performance do go on to study science.

Mary Morris, Dubai

Pakistan's army shows weakness

Taliban victim still critically ill (October 12) tells us about Malala Yousafzai, but what about the condition of the other two girls who were travelling in the same vehicle and were injured along with her?

It also concerns me that Pakistan's army seems incapable of handling this grave situation. Have the Taliban created a state within a state? Yousuf Ali, Pakistan

Quarterback story evokes old saying

Mike Tierney's comment item in your sport pages, Quarterbacks should pass on going on the run (October 14), was a great pleasure to read.

It reminds me of an old saying about American football: "There are old quarterbacks, and there are bold quarterbacks, but there are no old bold quarterbacks."

Joseph Foss, Dubai