x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Changes at the top

The Chinese premier, Wen Jiabao, says his country needs to reform politically if it is to remain economically competitive. But a reader expresses doubt that rapid reforms will be forthcoming. Other letter topics today: tap-and-go payment schemes, bad movies, unhealthy diets and Myanmar's potential.

Outgoing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for political reforms , but a reader points out that China's one-party system does not adapt easily. (Alexander F Yuan / AP)
Outgoing Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for political reforms , but a reader points out that China's one-party system does not adapt easily. (Alexander F Yuan / AP)

When I read this article (Swipe and you're settled with near-field communication, March 14), it is not what I envisioned for e-commerce.

In this scenario your credit card and/or debit card details are stored on your phone, so essentially what you are doing is simply transferring one payment mechanism to another - plastic to a mobile phone. However, a true tap-and-go system works by loading credits on to your phone, as done when you top up.

The credit is then used to purchase goods and services. In the case of a post payment the customer would be billed for the cost of the item, similar to what happens with a credit card. The phone provider and the merchant enter into an agreement for settling charges. Certainly in this scenario the customer benefits by not having to incur the kind of high interest charges that are attached to credit card transactions.

But I am not convinced that the proper security is in place to protect credit card data on mobile phones. Mobile phones have been easily hacked.

Who is going to stand the liability of a hacked phone and stealing of the information: the telephone provider, the customer or the bank?

Randall Mohammed, Dubai

Most movies leave us brain dead

I refer to It seems Hollywood is all about the apocalypse this year (March 13).

Most of these movies are comparable to Romans spending their time watching people killing one another in an arena.

Most in the American media and Hollywood film industry simply facilitate this continuing slumber that masquerades for entertainment, where a select few can socially engineer people for a certain political agenda.

Scare-mongering always helps.

One can count on the fingers of one hand the films that have some sort of important social message embedded.

In short, the entertainment culture of Hollywood, and Bollywood for that matter, often fails to uplift people. Rather, it tends to turn them into brainwashed, popcorn- eating zombies.

Joe Burns, Abu Dhabi

Pistachio: wonder nut or nutty idea?

Pistachios taste good and they may, in fact, be healthy. But we must not forget the true cause of diabetes and obesity (Could pistachios be health cure-all? December 2011).

Food types and eating habits have changed dramatically in the last 30 years. Today, dangerous food chemicals are common, as are high-fat and sugary foods. In fact, I would argue the food industry has contributed to the diabetes epidemic.

If you have a stubborn insulin level you should reduce your intake of fat; but other problems make losing weight very difficult. For some people, there are no such things as miracle diets, or foods.

Ammes Saanser, US

All talk, no action harms China

The news story (Premier urges reform in China, March 15) reminds me that while political reforms can help China's economy, simply wishing for sweeping change is fruitless.

The three-hour news conference of the premier, Wen Jiabao, on Wednesday was probably his last scheduled briefing before he steps down in a year's time, having assumed office in March 2003.

He has been portrayed domestically and internationally as being warm and caring, approachable and moderate, and a keen advocate of freedom, human rights and democracy.

These values are the same for Chinese and westerners. Nonetheless the practices and policies of the Communist party make it hard for Chinese politicians to act in accordance with these values.

Safe, secure and happy lives are what people around the world want.

These should be the priorities in Chinese political circles.

Ali Budak, Abu Dhabi

Myanmar looks to a brighter future

The story Myanmar lurches towards democracy (March 15) examines this South-east Asian country's warming relations with the West, and the April 1 poll that will be the first big test of the country's electoral legitimacy.

Recently visited by the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, the Myanmar government would be well advised to continue on its path of reform, leading to more funds for health and educations projects.

It is obvious that if despotic leaders shun systematic human rights violations, child labour and human trafficking, then tourism and trade will flourish.

Having a female leader such as Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, would be a significant achievement for the people of Myanmar.

Ayse Arzu Caglayan, Turkey