x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Neil Armstrong: an inspiration to us all

A reader salutes the achievements of the first man on the Moon. Other letter topics: praise for an explanation of UAE policy, air-conditioning, speed limits and mortgages.

A reader says Neil Armstrong's achievement will be remembered by generations to come. Courtesy of Nasa
A reader says Neil Armstrong's achievement will be remembered by generations to come. Courtesy of Nasa

A lucid account of the Emirates' unique approach

Dr Anwar Gargash's explanation of the UAE's approach to the world, Amid challenges, UAE policy engages in gradual reforms (August 26), is one of the best and most lucid I have read.

The UAE is unique in that it has progressed so far and so rapidly.

However, what is impressive has been the UAE's remarkable ability to find a path through the challenges of the Arab spring and the resulting disruption in many Middle East countries.

Dr Gargash praises the UAE, its people and its leaders for the successful strategies that have balanced the need for freedom with the need for security, and the desire for increased democracy (as defined by western examples) with an awareness of traditional Arab culture, history and the current underlying forces that are shaping the nation. Tom Pattillo, Canada


Summer unsuited to wearing suits


Regarding Triple peril of cooling systems set too low (August 26), many employees in the UAE wear business suits indoors to their offices in the searing summer heat, so it's no wonder that the temperature has to be maintained at 18 °C to cool them.

As in South Korea and Japan, employees should wear summer clothes during summer.

Also, many office buildings run their air-conditioning units 24 hours a day, which is a massive drain on energy and the environment. These units could easily be programmed to run for eight hours a day, five days a week, and they would use much less energy.

And when villas and other buildings are constructed, the use of insulation material could allow up to 30 per cent in future savings on energy.

Savings could also be made by diverting condensation from air-conditions for irrigation purposes, rather than letting it go down the drain.

Preet Singh, Dubai

It's true that it is very cold inside malls and other buildings in the UAE.

I am one of those people who cannot bear the cold, and I believe it leads to many health issues. Faisal Shaikh, Dubai

Armstrong an inspiration to all

First man to walk on the Moon, Neil Armstrong, dies age 82 (August 26) is sad news, not just for Americans but for everyone now living on this fragile blue planet.

For those of us alive in 1969, his historic "giant leap for mankind" is forever etched in memory.

Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and the astronauts who followed them will continue to inspire us well into the future.

Their achievements underscore that, with the "right stuff", there is no end to the possibilities of human endeavour.

James Holder, Dubai

Why the delay on speed limit plan?

Regarding Plan to cut speed limit still on hold (August 25), why is it taking so long to decide on something so obvious and straightforward?

Why not apply a percentage of the posted speed instead of a fixed buffer? For example, the absolute limit could be 10 per cent of the posted speed, so 60 kph means you can go up to 66 kph.

The key here is whatever the authorities decide to do should be applicable everywhere and not just on certain roads.

The vast majority of motorists are law-abiding people. The authorities should help them not to break the law. The simplest way to achieve this is to apply a consistent rule across the UAE so it does not cause confusion and accidents.

The next step could be to carry out a comprehensive study on all speed limits and to adjust them up or down accordingly.

Ziad Q, Abu Dhabi

Banks must act transparently

I commend Federal National Council member Ali Al Nuaimi for recognising the lack of transparency in mortgages and banks' abuse of their customers (Banks under fire over rates for home loans, August 26).

I bought a villa in March 2009 with a variable-rate mortgage set at 9.5 per cent. I have always paid my monthly instalment in full and on time, and I insisted that my rate be variable as I knew it was way too high at the time.

When I asked the bank to reduce my mortgage rate after one year, they brought it down to 8.5 per cent; when I asked again in 2011 and referred them to 3.49-4.99 average rates on the market, they offered 7.25 per cent with a higher penalty for early closure - and they demanded another 1 per cent loan origination fee (more than Dh25,000).

They refused to disclose how rates are decided or the criteria for determining individual customers' rates.

I am in the process of paying the price to switch providers, as my bank doesn't deserve my business.

Elan Fabbri, Dubai