x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Marathon runner praised

Letters also tackle free zones, hands-free devices, school breaks and how to improve shop services.

The 100-year-old runner Fauja Singh is an 'inspiration' for young and old, a reader says. Jaime Puebla /The National
The 100-year-old runner Fauja Singh is an 'inspiration' for young and old, a reader says. Jaime Puebla /The National

The article Free zones drive Dubai's exports (November 7) was very informative.

One can see that the road to success is through hard work and patience and no one can predict its net results. This applies to Dubai as anywhere.

Dubai's free zones and its success has led to the commercialisation and industrialisation of the emirate and turned it into a city of festival. Working in Dubai I have seen and felt the effect of growth on the lives of people here.

I see Dubai emerging as a global hub for finance, logistics, hospitality and leisure.

Rathish Rajan, Dubai

With all due respect to the laws and those who are mentioned in the article I think we should understand the rationale behind creating the free zones.

The point is mainly to boost the UAE economy and to create a free market similar to those in the western countries.

No one should make comments that would intimidate investors especially when talking about the services sector.

Foreign investor are allowed to own 100 per cent of the share capital in many services sectors, such as consultancies, in the UAE local market. I do not believe that carrying out a service activity in a free zone would be a violation of the laws.

The point of the free zones is to add to the prosperity of UAE citizens, regardless whether there is a local partner in such an enterprise or not.

Bilal Snaineh, Dubai

Are hands-free devices any safer?

Messaging or reading while driving is dangerous, no doubt about that (BlackBerry cuts made roads safer, police say, October 15). However, I disagree with the general belief that talking on the phone while using an ear piece is safer than when using your hand to hold the phone against your ear.

On the contrary, I find it more distracting if I have to fiddle with the ear piece and press buttons on the phone. It's easier and less distracting if I just hold it to my ear.

Ziad Q, Abu Dhabi

Runner deserves due recognition

The article 100-year-old marathon competitor gives Dubai a run (November 8) tells of an amazing story and an inspiration.

The fact that Fauja Singh completed the Toronto Waterfront Marathon at 100 years old is a great achievement.

JG, Dubai

Careful thinking for school breaks

I refer to the article Eid Al Adha break for schools won't be extended, says Ministry (November 1). From my understanding, it was semantics that allowed or prevented schools taking the full week vacation. Schools that declared their holidays were "mid-term" breaks, instead of "Eid" breaks, did not change the vacation dates. These schools have a full week off. This is a lesson for schools to be more careful in their wording.

The second lesson is for government bodies who are in control of vacations.

It is likely a large percentage of students will not go to school on Wednesday and Thursday because most will have been away on vacation in the UAE or overseas.

In many countries, students come in to school on Saturdays to fill the gap left by an unexpected holiday. This may have been a viable option, but parents and children were never given a choice.

The only ones who will suffer are the students who will miss two days at school because their families had already planned (more than a week in advance) a joyous Eid vacation

Name withheld by request

Ways for shops to improve service

After living in the UAE for nearly three years, there are some things I should be used to but that still surprise me (Good customer service is a critical business element, September 24).

Like the rest of the region, shop assistants can at first seem overzealous to get your attention.

But as soon as any question of proper assistance is required, one might as well have become invisible as they immediately look to move you on. One would think, for example, that if a shop doesn't stock you size, the shopkeeper might recommend one of their other stores elsewhere in the emirate and arrange for that item to be kept for you or possibly arrange for it to be available for collection at the same store later.

Also, what is it about loose change, or more exactly the lack of it? I keep mine in my car as I need it to pay for parking. Why aren't shops similarly prepared? Perhaps the solution is to make all items divisible by Dh5 or Dh10. That would make life easier for everyone.

Ian Walker, Abu Dhabi