x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Help tourists – and residents – understand what they see

A reader says heritage areas need better signs and other types of explanation. Other letter topics: street addresses, education investments, suicide, and commuting.

Rather than building new heritage sites a reader suggests better care of existing ones. (Razan Alzayani / The National)
Rather than building new heritage sites a reader suggests better care of existing ones. (Razan Alzayani / The National)

The problem with local cultural museums (Emiratis call for more local culture museums, June 16) is not the volume of such sites, but the interpretation they offer.

I just returned from a weekend in Dubai and was disappointed by the lack of signage within the Bastakiya and Al Shindagha heritage areas.

Emerging from Al Ghubaiba Metro station, there is no directional signage to the sites. There is no interpretive boards about the significance of the district, and no guide maps.

There is obviously extensive reconstruction work being undertaken at Al Shindagha and in time these issues might be addressed. But right now, poor standards in signage, late opening hours and a lack of interpretive kiosks do no favours for those valiantly trying to promote UAE heritage.

Surely an organised walking (or buggy) tour of the whole area would be a good start. Guided tours of the individual sites and other interactive elements such as a traditional dates and coffee welcome and an escorted dhow or abra ride would help enrich the understanding of these areas.

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is a shining example of the deep knowledge that can be gained from engaging Emirati guides to provide their unique cultural perspective.

Ian Mason, Abu Dhabi

An easier way to find an address

I was really happy to read the report UAE website takes pain out of locating a business (June 18).

I have been waiting years for someone to apply GPS technology to the problem of street addresses.

The confusion is awful, especially if you live, as I do, in a nondescript building without a distinctive retail shop at street level.

Michael Khoury, Abu Dhabi

High praise for education funds

Applause. Encore. The budget increases announced this week are a true investment in the UAE's future (Abu Dhabi's multibillion dirham look to the future, June 14.)

Hopefully, the career guidance provided by Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) and the universities will lead secondary students into high-need areas.

Jerry McDonald, Abu Dhabi

Help debtors dig out of depression

Suicide among in the Indian community in UAE has alarmingly increased this year (Two Indians a week take their own lives, May 27).

Dozens of Indians have already committed suicide this year. But still the Indian embassy in the UAE, and the Indian government in New Delhi, have not spent enough time determining to prevent these tragic deaths.

In my opinion, most of these suicides are due to financial problems generated because of low salaries and mounting debt. Several banks in the UAE are giving loans and credit cards without looking into a person's income source and family status. As such, people earning low incomes are taking out big loans to bring family members here, or are living lavishly by using more than one credit card collected from different banks to pay their bills.

These people are not being responsible for their own finances, and are forgetting to remit debit instalments in due course. But they are also being preyed upon by unscrupulous bankers.

This cycle of debt and failure to dig out leaves some people, including Indian expatriates, with an impossible choice: run away, risk prison or commit suicide in order to avoid court order and prison terms.

It's a vicious cycle that the government needs to help to change.

KP Muhammad, Abu Dhabi

Time commuting is time wasted

Your story Commuters give up the daily slog to Abu Dhabi (June 18) was of special interest to me, as a recovering long-distance commuter.

In Chicago, I made a 75-minute motorway trip twice a day, for many years, to get to work. And twice a day, I hated every minute of it.

Here in the UAE, I work with some people who commute from homes in Dubai to our office in Abu Dhabi. I have seen their homes, in some cases, and they are certainly nicer than I can afford on the same salary here in Abu Dhabi.

But I am still much happier with a five-minute taxi trip from my modest flat to my office.

Joe Learoyd, Abu Dhabi

A midday break to benefit everyone

Enforcement of the law protecting workers who are out in the sun this summer period is commendable.

But perhaps the rule should be applied to others working outside. Mawaqif inspectors, for instance, are out all day. Why not give them a respite? While we're at it, how about a summer free of Mawaqif parking fees? That would be a true win-win.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi