x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Modern sailors eat well

Naval crews used to eat wormy hardtack, but modern ones dine much better, a reader remarks. Other letters touch on maids possibly going home, the September 11 attacks, skin whitening, job creation and more.

Leesa Zilempe, a US navy petty officer and the captain's personal chef, prepares dinner in the commander's galley aboard the USS George HW Bush. A reader notes that modern-day sailors eat well. Jeff Topping / The National
Leesa Zilempe, a US navy petty officer and the captain's personal chef, prepares dinner in the commander's galley aboard the USS George HW Bush. A reader notes that modern-day sailors eat well. Jeff Topping / The National

I refer to the news story Philippines mulls ban on maids in Gulf (September 5).

The obvious downside of this policy would be that many workers would have to return home without work. I hope that if the Philippine government enacts this policy it will also stimulate its economy and create jobs there.

The upside of these workers returning is that their families could then live together instead of being apart for years, providing a healthier foundation for their society.

However the joy and benefit of being together would be short-lived if their breadwinner is unemployed.

Rebecca Lavallee, Abu Dhabi

Attackers threaten all cultures

Your story In wake of 9/11 loss, Baraheen Ashrafi rebuilt her family with faith (September 4) was touching.

The attacks of September 11, 2001 delivered a global shock that has enlightened the world about terrorism, and the serious physical and mental damages it causes.

September 11 of each year is a day to remember that among us there are those who truly represent no religion but represent a threat to all cultures.

Yousef Al Nakhi, Abu Dhabi

Without belittling the significance of the anniversary of the Al Qaeda attacks of 2001, I want to point out an interesting phenomenon: the coverage of the anniversary, in all media, seems to begin earlier each year.

An older American friend told me of something that was apparently well-known during the Second World War: as American, British and Canadian bombers approached their German targets, amid dense anti-aircraft fire, their bombardiers would naturally tend to release their payloads early and turn for home.

As successive waves of planes did this, each releasing just before the previous plane's spot, the bomb track would move steadily farther west of the target. They called this "creep-back".

I see the same thing in news coverage, each paper and channel wanting to be first with the coverage.

Henry McRandle, Dubai

Governments don't create jobs

Thank you for a fine package on the Federal National Council campaign in the different emirates (FNC elections, September 5).

One candidate spoke of "job creation". Hardly a day goes by without a mention of job creation somewhere in the media, somewhere in the world. And it always means government job creation, a nonsensical concept.

Certainly government can hire thousands for make-work jobs, but how does it pay them? Or government can pay for infrastructure projects of marginal (or less) usefulness. But in every country, wealth and jobs come from resource extraction or else from the private sector, which is in most places the only real engine of job creation.

Peter Burrell, Doha

Sailors eat well on US carrier

It was interesting to read your article about the food service aboard the US aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush (Dinner for 5,000, September 5).

I was struck by the luxury of the officers' dining room and the fact that the carrier's captain has a personal chef. Sailors - many of them now female, to judge by your story - have come a long way since the days when rations consisted of worm-eaten hard biscuit and a tot of rum.

But - no wonder the US defence budget is so high.

George Carew, Australia

A sad relic of colonial era

How sad to realise, from your report Dark side of search for beauty (September 5) that there is such a big market for skin-whitening products.

The cultural imperative that makes women want paler skin speaks for itself: it's a remnant of the colonial era when all things European were widely assumed to be superior and darkness was seen to be a mark of inferiority.

It's surprising how these old political realities still survive and can shape our social attitudes today.

From Brazil to Mexico to Asia and the Middle East, white skin still seems to denote superiority for many people who may not even know the history.

Susan E Montgomery, Dubai

IMF needs to make up its mind

So now Christine Lagarde has had the International Monetary Fund reverse course (IMF urges return to economic stimulus, September 5).

This kind of vacillation is not the solid reliable confidence the world wants to see from the IMF.

Fortunately very few governments can change gears instantly, even at the IMF's urging.

John Reilly, Dubai