x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Gold's timeless appeal

Whatever the economic circumstances, a reader writes, it's hard to go wrong with gold. Other letters today touch on rules for maids, UN vetoes, transitory memory, and high utility bills.

Window shoppers peruse a display of gold jewellery outside a store in the Gold Souk in Dubai. A reader notes that while diamonds may be forever, gold's increasing value makes it a smarter investment. (Jeff Topping/The National)
Window shoppers peruse a display of gold jewellery outside a store in the Gold Souk in Dubai. A reader notes that while diamonds may be forever, gold's increasing value makes it a smarter investment. (Jeff Topping/The National)

The article Recruiters cheat maids into taking less money (September 12) raises questions. Does the proposed minimum wage apply in the Philippines as well? Does this apply to both live-in and live-out maids in the Philippines?

Even though I choose to pay my maid more than $400, it still irks me sometimes that there are people out there who have two maids for nearly the same price.

However, it seems to me that the Philippine government is doing a disservice by demanding this minimum wage. They must know that too many people in the UAE will simply hire people from countries that do not place such restrictions on their workers, reducing the number of Filipinas working in the UAE and sending money back to the Philippine economy.

That said, people should know exactly what they will be paid before they agree to go to a foreign country to work. If they agree to work for Dh800 (including food, lodging, visas and other costs) then let them work. There are a lot of people in the world for whom $200 a month would be a step up.

The cost of a live-in domestic worker does not stop at the monthly salary. With visa fees, airline costs, insurance, food, added electricity, and other benefits the actual cost of a maid who makes Dh1,400 per month is actual somewhere closer to Dh2,500 per month.

People come to this country and pay for a domestic help because it is affordable, not because it is a necessity. I think the UAE government knows that forcing people to pay more will simply mean fewer people will hire maids and fewer people will come. If fewer people come, there is less revenue from fees, fewer people flying and less money put back into the economy by the hundreds of thousands of people who come here to work in middle class households that would normally not even consider hiring a domestic worker.

Donald Glass, Abu Dhabi

9/11 horror will be a thing of the past

Human nature is funny. For all the talk about how to "never forget", the attacks of September 11, 2001 will be a smaller story on the 20th anniversary, a tiny one by the 50th, and by 2101 it will be a footnote.

Who today remembers any event that happened in 1901?

Life always goes on.

Austin Jackson, Dubai

US within its right to veto statehood

The letter to the editor US veto violates worldwide wish (September 12) missed the point.

The letter was moaning on about the US being likely to veto a Palestinian-statehood resolution at the United Nations Security Council, saying this was abusively unfair to the will of the majority.

But what else can a veto ever be for than to frustrate the will of the majority? It is fatuous to complain that a country is abusing power when it uses a tool for its intended purpose.

At the UN's founding, the veto power was given to China, France, the then Soviet Union, the UK and US because without it, they would not have joined the UN. Every organisation has its founding compromises.

Also, the letter-writer evidently presumes that at the UN, governments vote in accordance with the will of their peoples. On the Palestininian issue this is no doubt true for Muslim countries, but plenty of governments, from Angola to Zimbabwe, couldn't care less what their people think. And if there were a true worldwide one-person one-vote democracy, Palestine would not be near the top of the human agenda; food, health and other universal issues would be.

Peter Humphrey, Abu Dhabi

Selling home due to rising utility bills

My monthly water and electricity bills used to be about Dh165 in winter and Dh300 in summer (Higher utility bills anger Dubai families, September 11).

I'm environmentally conscious and I turn off all electrical outlets at the wall except for the fridge. I don't leave the AC on during the day.

Despite that, my bills are now at least Dh1,800.

There is no way that my bills should be this high; they must be either averaged or I'm being charged for my neighbour's use.

I am seriously considering selling the house simply because of the escalating bills.

The cost of operating my home is absolutely outrageous and totally disproportionate to the use of one single environmentally conscious woman.

Elan Fabbri, Dubai

Gold is a timeless treasure, so buy it

I loved the article Buy gold jewellery and revel in being financially astute (September 10). I personally like buying gold for a gift instead of diamonds or silver.

No matter how many years pass, the gold value always protects itself.

As my grandmother said, gold is a timeless treasure so buy it.

Mohammed Ahmed, Dubai