x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Mumbai officials must share collapse blame

Readers say that the municipal officers who approved the tower that collapsed in Mumbai should be punished along with the builders. Other topics: schools and storms.

Readers say officials should be punished along with the builders of the collapsed Mumbai tower. Rajanish Kakade / AP
Readers say officials should be punished along with the builders of the collapsed Mumbai tower. Rajanish Kakade / AP

Working together will help solve education issues

I refer to the editorial on school education (Education for all must be UAE's goal, April 4).

I am aware of the discrepancy in education provision for the expatriate population in the UAE, both in terms of price and quality. However, there is no simple solution to a problem that exists not only in the UAE but in other Gulf countries and beyond.

No education system is free. In many countries, including the UK and some other European nations, the state education system is funded through income tax. Therefore, those contributing to income tax have a right to have their children educated at state schools.

The problem here is that expatriates' education has to be funded privately. The quality of education offered at various institutions depends on the fees they charge.

The regulations on education in the Emirates are rightly set against international standards. It would be wrong for the regulatory bodies to turn a blind eye to low health and safety standards at any institution.

There is a moral responsibility to ensure that all children are safe and being taught well.

There are different ways to tackle this issue, but none of them will work unless you get private schools and those that charge comparatively high fees working with you rather than forcing a solution on them.

My experience has been that whenever an organisation is forced to act against its will, it will make enormous efforts to find loopholes and ways around.

If incentives are offered, you often find some of the most creative talent coming forward with ideas that work.

Paul Wagstaff, Abu Dhabi

Fitting in requires personal effort

I was interested in the article Films give voice to message(April 6).

I am also half-Emirati, yet I have not experienced the type of "discrimination" mentioned in the story.

In my opinion, if you are able to speak Arabic fluently, wear national dress and socialise with other Emiratis, then these problems don't arise.

I see being bicultural and bilingual as a bonus.

The people who face discrimination (as mixed-race children) are, perhaps, raised in a way that does not stress Emirati values and the Arabic language.

If you are Emirati yet can't speak Arabic fluently and choose not to wear national dress, you can't complain if people treat you differently.

It means you are not even trying to fit in.

Maitha Al Marri, Dubai

This issue has really touched me. I was born to a Japanese mother and American father in 1961.

It was less than 20 years after the US war with Japan, less than 10 years removed from the Korean War and at the beginning of the conflict with Vietnam.

All Asians were thought to look alike in the small, homogenous community where I grew up. The Japanese residents saw me as American and Americans saw me as Japanese.

I was a race unto myself and my childhood was painful.

Because I look "different" I have been mistaken for many different races, including Native American, Inuit and, mostly, Hispanic. I didn't expect this to be an issue here in the UAE.

Like the young woman who is half-American, I became stronger through the struggle.

I wish these young filmmakers luck and I look forward to seeing their film.

Patricia Geiger, Abu Dhabi

Lightning can be frightening

I am writing in reference to your story on the unusual weather we have been having in the UAE (Thunder and lightning (but not very, very frightening), April 7).

My girls were scared to see the lightning during the storm on Saturday night, because it was the first time they had ever seen it.

L Salim, Dubai

Mumbai officials must take blame

The collapse of a building in India's commercial capital of Mumbai was unacceptable (Police hunt death tower builders, April 6).

The increasing number of illegal constructions - despite monitoring by the authorities - is a sad state of affairs. The guilty parties should be punished severely.

K Ragavan, India

Such substandard constructions without permits could only be built with the connivance of the Indian authorities.

Why is it that the bribe-taking Mumbai officials are never seen in court alongside the builders being charged with manslaughter?

Peter Nixon, Abu Dhabi