x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Film festival has offered five-star entertainment

A reader praises the range of films at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival. Other topics: pensions for Indian workers and the art of selling art.

A reader praises the programme for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which this year honoured American actor Forest Whitaker with its career achievement award. Lee Hoagland / The National
A reader praises the programme for the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which this year honoured American actor Forest Whitaker with its career achievement award. Lee Hoagland / The National

Thank you for your coverage of the Abu Dhabi Film Festival, which, once again, has been just incredible.

I am going to see many movies this week.

There are so many choices from new filmmakers, including Arab filmmakers.

I give the festival an A+.

Brigitte von Bulow, Abu Dhabi

Denim abaya not a good fit for UAE

It was interesting to read Denim abayas proving a hit in Kerala (October 22).

They aren’t going to work here in the UAE. Denim is only suitable for jeans and jackets, and making abayas out of the material will prove a flop.

Fatima Suhail, Dubai

Market forces are driving art

I refer to Buying spree puts Qatar emir’s sister atop art’s ‘power list’ (October 24).

The art world has many investors but a lack of patrons; many galleries but few salons. This all refinorces the mantra that “people buy the artist, not the art”.

So who “makes” the artist?

All too often in today’s world it is the canny connoisseur who seeks the “story” and the opportunity to promote as “art” a package so contrived or outrageous, or both, that it’s good.

Artists that sell – and are still alive – are, more often than not, stifled by the buying market’s demand that they repeat themselves, again and again, so that they are “recognisable” – locked into a montage of the same images, churning out optional book covers for the same book.

There is a lot of art still waiting to be discovered. Some of it will wait for the artist to pass on; some of it is right here in our neighbourhood.

I know of one such person: a painter with an impressionist vision who lives in Dubai and is surrounded by cultural barriers. He is limited by time and an inability to “sell himself” in an art world whose vocabulary seems contrived.

He is hidden beneath a suit by day and paints through his solitary nights. His good fortune is that he doesn’t depend on his art to pay his bills.

Prodeep Mookerjee, Dubai

Pension scheme needs support

I am writing about the Mahatma Gandhi Suraksha Yojana pension scheme for Indian expatriates.

In the past, when low- and middle-income Indian expatriates returned home after decades of hard work abroad, 95 per cent of them found they could not look after their families properly.

That is because those families had spent all the money remitted to them, without knowing of the hardship of the breadwinner. 

The pension fund will provide an excellent solution – if everybody joins in.

While it was announced that the scheme would cover five million Indians in GCC countries, it is available only to those who have an ECR (emigration check required) stamp in their passports.

The programme started 18 months ago, but the response from workers has been very poor.

While the appointment of Baroda and the Life Insurance Corporation of India to distribute the scheme is welcome, it will reach more Indian expatriates if all banks are signed up.

The scheme is very good, but it must reach those who need it.

K V Shamsudheen, chairman, Pravasi Bandhu Welfare Trust

Confused about weapons stance

I refer to US ‘concerned’ over Turkey’s choice of Chinese defence system (October 24).

Is defence equipment like computers? Do manufacturers leave back-doors open to retain control over their use after they sell their missile systems?

Otherwise, why should western manufacturers be concerned about Chinese competition?

R Houghton, Dubai

The US has controlled the international weapons industry by bullying the market.

It has forced nations to buy some ordinary equipment at extortionate prices when there are better and cheaper options out there.

Aziza Al Busaidy, Dubai