x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Everybody loves a bad guy with a bit of charm

Larry Hagman's Dallas character JR Eqing was popular precisely because he was a villain, a reader notes. Other letter topics: drivers on the phone, a helpful cabbie, bad cheques, and high-rises.

People liked Dallas villain JR Ewing - as portrayed by Larry Hagman, who died last week at 81 - precisely because the character was such a shameless rascal, a reader says.
People liked Dallas villain JR Ewing - as portrayed by Larry Hagman, who died last week at 81 - precisely because the character was such a shameless rascal, a reader says.

To put safety first block mobiles in moving cars

A traffic-safety measure being proposed in Australia could and should be copied in the UAE, and worldwide. The Australian Road Safety Foundation says every car should be sold or retrofitted with a mobile-phone-call blocker.

The idea arose after it emerged that fully one third of the 270 road fatalities in the state of Queensland last year were linked to mobile-phone calls, texting or similar distractions.

While I have not seen any statistics, I am sure phones are a factor in many deaths in the UAE, as well.

Many taxi trips involve the driver chatting on a mobile while weaving through traffic. Many private drivers, including those with children passengers, also blithely chat or text away while operating their huge, deadly machines.

If the technology exists, and safety authorities are serious about cutting the toll, this Australian idea ought to be embraced here.

Jason Burke, Abu Dhabi

Taxi driver goes the extra mile

I would like to shout the name of Aslam Uddin from the rooftops - well, the print equivalent. This cheery Emirates Taxi driver has given me further reason to be glad I relocated to Abu Dhabi five weeks ago.

Mr Uddin saved me much time and expense last week when I mislaid my passport. He turned up at my home in Al Reef, having found it in the back of his car.

When I realised that my passport was missing, after I flew in from a weekend in Muscat, I was mortified.

Checks with Abu Dhabi police didn't produce results, although the CID at the airport lost-and-found department went above and beyond the call of duty by retracing my journey from passport control to the exit on closed-circuit TV, which only confirmed that it hadn't been dropped there.

I was resigned to a trip to the British Embassy to secure an emergency passport to allow my planned UK Christmas trip. But then I got a call late one night to say a driver had my little red book and was on his way over. His car had been in the garage for two days, delaying the find.

My relief was palpable and I will certainly never skimp on tips to cab drivers from now on.

Aslam Uddin, your honesty is appreciated and I thank you for reinforcing my passion for Abu Dhabi.

David Dunn, Abu Dhabi

High-rise buildings not really needed

I like the fact that a planned building (Hong Kong developer plans new skyscraper for Abu Dhabi's Reem Island, November 25) is going up only 30 floors, and hope that will become more common. We don't need more 50, 60, 80 or 100-floor buildings.

What's so great about skyscrapers? What's the attraction? Why are architects and developers so consumed by this race for the sky?

When you consider the true environmental effect, safety issues and other risks of huge buildings, you wonder why they're still being built.

Basseem Fakhry, Dubai

Debtors' prison makes no sense

For a person cooling his heels in jail for dishonoured cheques, all the recent talk and your editorial Growing attention to bad-cheque law (November 7) could not have been more timely.

As you rightly pointed out, the present laws do not provide any solution to the problem. Instead, they intensify, complicate and compound it. One defaulter can cause tens or hundreds of others to default.

Over the past 10 weeks, I have come across many people who, like me, are not intentional defaulters, cheats or criminals but just victims of circumstances. Bundling such people with drug peddlers and rapists in indefinite detention does not solve the problem.

Most expatriate defaulters, including me, have had the opportunity to run away from this country.

Despite such a suggestion from my lawyer in the early days, I chose to remain here and face the law rather than betray the trust placed on me by my banks, suppliers, subcontractors and workers.

While a company that I built up with absolute passion, commitment and honesty over the past 11 years is breathing its last, I hope an expeditious change in laws will at least stop further occurrences.

This would reinforce the business-friendliness of the UAE and bring more investors here, instead of discouraging people who want to help the country develop.

Name withheld by request

Everybody loves a charming rogue

Remembering TV's most loved bad boy, Larry Hagman (November 25) and other coverage demonstrated an interesting point. The Dallas character JR Ewing was popular because of his bad-boy qualities, not despite them.

There's something in human nature that attracts us to a rascal, even a criminal, if he's charming.

CK Dexter, US