It is natural and very welcome that the US is providing support for Australia and other Pacific countries, a reader says. Other topics: maids, bachelor housing, coffins, and Syria.
China's neighbours need a friend
Thank you for your sensible comment on the question of bachelor housing in Sharjah and elsewhere (More housing options benefit all income levels, April 5).
I have some acquaintances who live in that type of housing, though not in Sharjah. Some of them could afford something a little more private and comfortable than living three or four to a room, but they tell me that the next modest step up, to flats with perhaps two people per room, involves a very big increase in rent.
Provision of more moderately-priced housing would indeed leave people at all income levels more comfortable.
VJ Mehta, Dubai
Syria had a tacit accord with Israel
Your Arabic News Digest had a very interesting point (When Israel agrees with Iran, April 5).
Syria has long "talked a good game," as the saying is, about resistance to Israel, but I believe that there has been a tacit agreement between them: Syria generally leaves Israel alone, except rhetorically, and Israel leaves Syria alone.
Both sides of this arrangement come at the expense of the Palestinian and Syrian peoples.
Abdullah Salloum, Dubai
Region's dates need better image
I refer to Date exports 'need much higher level of marketing' (April 5).
Arabs and other residents of the Middle East and North Africa understand how good dates are, and a number of companies such as Bateel have converted this staple food into luxury products that are sold in our most high-end malls.
So it's a pity that the word has not spread into export markets, and I am glad to see that this may take place with more emphasis soon.
Khalood Habib, Dubai
China bullies its neighbours
I find it ridiculous that China accuses US of intruding in region (April 5).
Australia has been a US ally for generations, and right now all of China's neighbours need allies. China does not seem to understand "soft power" and is seeking regional hegemony through sheer economic and military bullying.
A lot of countries and peoples welcome the US bulwark.
Terry Carroll, Australia
Crime story read like a spy novel
I just came upon your recent story Stamp of approval for Dubai Customs (April 2).
This account of smuggled fake official rubber stamps reads like the first chapter of a spy novel, and leaves me hungry to read the rest.
I hope that at the trial, or somehow, the details of this scam will come to light. I like crime stories of this type; if there must be crime, at least I hope it's interesting - and non-violent.
Danielle Redford, Abu Dhabi
Coffins shouldn't cost so much
It is reassuring to see that the UAE will no longer be quite such an expensive place to die in (Coffin company cuts back price increase for expatriate caskets, April 5).
It's a service I hope I won't need to use for many years, but it's good to know that an outrageous price increase has been scaled back.
Expatriates can thank the Government for that. But I for one would be even more thankful if the one company's monopoly were removed, so that there could be some competition in this market.
Arthur Blakely, Abu Dhabi
Treat maids like human beings
Maids are human being, they should be treated as such (Families urged to give maids a day off, April 4).
Whatever they do or wherever they go during their days off is not their employer's concern, as long as it does not affect their normal working days.
Gone are the days when maids were treated like slaves and their employers' possession. Maids are paid for the work they do, not being bought as a commodity.
Name withheld by request
I don't understand how people can have such a double standard about their maids.
First you decide to entrust your children to this woman, but then you decide that she can't be trusted to take care of even herself: give her a few hours of freedom one day a week and it will end badly.
Employers in this position should try to imagine themselves living with zero unsupervised time off all week. It's not reasonable.
Francis Ellerman, Abu Dhabi
Even construction labourers have a better life than many maids. At least labourers have some comfort in numbers. Maids do not. It can't be a nice life.
Linda Jones-Watson, Dubai