x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Fox breaks down barriers

A reader welcomes a new Michael J Fox sitcom that deals with the actor's Parkinson's disease. Other topics: grocery stores, a hotel's hard-sell tactics and the Indian rape trial.

Michael J Fox deserves credit for bringing Parkinson's disease to public attention, a reader says. Kevin Winter / AFP
Michael J Fox deserves credit for bringing Parkinson's disease to public attention, a reader says. Kevin Winter / AFP

Indian trial must be conducted transparently

Public banned from India gang-rape trial (January 8) is a cause for concern.

As the story says, it is not just the general public that has been banned from the courtroom, but the media as well.

Of course, no magistrate or judge should tolerate unruly behaviour, and there is often a good reason to hold certain court cases in camera.

However, this case is of enormous public interest, not just in India but around the world. What happens in that courtroom has the potential to direct government policy and change an entire national mindset.

Of course, it's important that these men get a fair trial and that the facts of the case are established fairly and impartially.

But it is essential that justice be done, but also that it be seen to be done.

Charles Bryant, Abu Dhabi

All benefit from an educated society

I appreciate Faisal Al Yafai's analysis in The ABCs of innovative policy to fund expatriate education (January 8).

However, I must take exception to the statement that "few benefit directly from having other people's children educated".

The article used the example of the benefits of everyone being healthy - and yet we are all often treated by doctors who at one point were "other people's children".

An entire society benefits when a large swath of the population is highly educated.

It is also important to note that expatriates are indeed "taxed" for the education of their children, through the school fees of Dh5,000 they must pay for each child registered in the public system.

A country such as the UAE, which is so heavily dependent on foreign labour, should itself contribute to the betterment of the people who are helping to build and maintain this country. C Browne, Abu Dhabi


Sales pressure not appreciated

In one of Abu Dhabi's five-stars hotels, I was offered a one-year health club membership for Dh6,000.

The condition was that I had to accept within two hours or else lose the offer. I signed and paid.

Three days later, I asked for a refund. Two months have passed since then, and they are still refusing to give me a refund.

Their attempts to handle my complaint have been essentially non-existent. I guess they are too busy giving two-hour deadlines on offers to other clients.

Faisal Ahmed, Abu Dhabi

Wanted: a place to change coins

I am writing in reference to New grocery stores are on their way, Abu Dhabi assures residents (January 7).

I am sure many people have had the experience of driving around for some time before finding a parking spot, then feeding the nearest parking meter with dirham coins - only to have them rejected by the machine.

It appears that the parking meters accept only old dirham coins , not the nice new shiny dirhams. Of course, if you are lucky enough to have a parking card in your pocket, then your troubles are over.

In the past, little neighbourhood shops have supplied us very efficiently with phone cards and, more recently, parking cards.

It was even possible to exchange new dirhams for old ones. Sadly, with the closure of these small shops, it has become difficult to buy parking cards.

It would be greatly appreciated if Mawaqif could look into this matter and adjust the meters to accept all types of dirham coins.

J Hijazi, Abu Dhabi

The credit on my phone ran out late at night this week. The local grocery store has shut down, so I couldn't recharge it there.

On the way to work at 6.30am the next day, I tried three Adnoc outlets and not one of them could sell me any Etisalat credit.

You can imagine my utter frustration at a time of day when so few stores are open.

Steven Waddell, Abu Dhabi

Applause for TV comedy initiative

I was extremely pleased to read Fox to play newscaster in new comedy show (January 8).

I like Michael J Fox as an actor, but I admire him much more as a human being who has done so much to raise awareness about a condition that affects so many people.

Fox's efforts to support research into Parkinson's disease, which he acquired at a young age, deserve great applause.

I congratulate the NBC network for taking a risk on this show, which I hope acquires a large and appreciative audience.

I also hope that framing this show as a comedy with a likeable lead character will help break down some of the stigma that is too often associated with Parkinson's and similar conditions.

I hope we get to see this show in the UAE in due course.

Mary Morris, Dubai