x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'Indiana Jones' is out of work

A reader laments the dismissal of Zahi Hawass, who was Egypt's minister of antiquities. Other letters cover reading to children, bad driving, Twitter withdrawal, the US Congress, and make-up.

Zahi Hawass, who became well-known as Egypt's antiquities minister, examines a recently unearthed 4,000-year-old tomb. A reader expresses regret that Mr Hawass has been dismissed. AFP
Zahi Hawass, who became well-known as Egypt's antiquities minister, examines a recently unearthed 4,000-year-old tomb. A reader expresses regret that Mr Hawass has been dismissed. AFP

I feel sorry for Zahi Hawass, the former minister of antiquities in Egypt who has been fired but remains on the job in a temporary care-taker role.

By all accounts that the outside world has heard, he did a good job of protecting Egypt's patrimony during the unrest, and negotiated for the return of a hoard of 19 artefacts from King Tutankhamun's time (King Tut treasures returning to Egypt from the US, August 1).

With his Indiana Jones hat and his fondness for publicity, Mr Hawass was a memorable character; his personality must have helped Egypt's tourist trade.

Yet he will now be out of work, dumped for his alleged ties to Hosni Mubarak. His willingness to stay on temporarily shows that he takes the work seriously.

Surely people should be judged on their accomplishments, not on their friends.

Marie Ladouceur, US

Reading to kids is a pleasure

Thanks for your article Please can you read us a story (August 2).

Besides all the benefits, reading to your children is one of life's great pleasures.

My own children are all in university now but I still remember clearly and fondly the many hours I spent reading to them when they were little. The cosy peaceful times with those trusting little souls were among the happiest of my life.

Louis Tamrig, Abu Dhabi

Why not reduce the limit to 120?

If cutting the speed limit to 140 km/h on the motorway has cut accidents so well (New E11 speed limit cuts accidents by a third, August 1), why don't the authorities just go ahead and reduce the speed limit further, to the GCC norm of 120 km/h?

After all, this is the limit prescribed by the Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation. That's why vehicles cleared for import to this region are invariably fitted with a speed warning device set at that speed.

Clearly, some lessons have already been learnt here. Now we have an opportunity to save even more lives and mitigate injuries that in many cases have a lifelong impact.

John Deykin, Dubai

Accidents on the E11 and other roads could be reduced further by imposing black points for excessive or inappropriate speed.

Currently anyone can drive up to 179 km/h in a 120 km/h posted zone without getting any black points, but only a fine of up to Dh800. As an expert in road, traffic and transport engineering, I also think the total allowable black points per year should be reduced from 24 to 12, as in Australia.

Sumi Tiwari, Australia

Twitter is a new form of addiction

Five years ago, or certainly 10, nobody had ever heard of Twitter. Now a few hours without it is cause for indignation, distress and even rage. (Twitter users' anger after social networking website is blocked, August 2.)

I don't use Twitter myself but many who do seem to be addicted, so that any interruption in supply rapidly brings on painful withdrawal symptoms.

Jan Hoeppner, Abu Dhabi

US Congress toys with whole world

So now investors are happy. (Markets buoyed by US debt proposal, August 2).

Are we supposed to be grateful now that the American Congress has pulled that country and the world back from the brink of an economic melt-down? How long until they put us through all this again? I resent their ability to toy with the whole world economy.

Peter Burrell, Doha

Why do women wear make-up?

It was interesting to learn that women in the UAE wear much more make-up - or at least pay a lot more for beauty products - than their counterparts in France (Glamorous results for make-up in UAE, August 2).

My wife and my sisters all seem to have a lot of fancy products and they just laugh when I say that "if a person can see those products on your face from five feet away, you're wearing too much".

I can only conclude that many women put on all this stuff not to attract men or to look good by any objective standard, but rather to feel good about themselves.

Ted Blue, Abu Dhabi

Banks have just a single focus

Despite huge profits, HSBC is slashing the payroll (HSBC to cut 30,000 jobs despite big profit, August 2). I shudder to think what they would have done if they'd lost money.

Name withheld by request