x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

No place to park

Problems finding a parking place in Abu Dhabi's Tourist Club area could lead to an accident, a reader says. Other letters topics: free markets, fire safety and corruption.

Tourist Club area parking problems could lead to accidents, a reader says. Sammy Dallal / The National
Tourist Club area parking problems could lead to accidents, a reader says. Sammy Dallal / The National

Columnist William Pesek contradicts himself spectacularly and doesn't even seem to realise it (As Hong Kong's ultra free-market model falters, doubts arise for others, June 3).

He cites Hong Kong as an example of what the "free market crowd" considers ideal and suggests that its failures discredit "one brand of capitalism".

But the crony capitalism he denounces ("politically-connected tycoons have enriched themselves") is capitalism in name only, and not "free market" at all.

Crony capitalism does its malign work precisely because of government thumbs on the scale. In a true free market economy, there would be small government and an even playing field, not corrupt deals through which state power ruthlessly favours the few.

Ronald Reagan was right when he said: "Government is not the solution; government is the problem".

True market capitalism is magnificent in theory. Too bad it's never been tried.

Peter Burrell, Dubai


Where are Egypt's missing billions?

I was interested to read the story Judge puts Mubarak behind bars for life (June 3).

I was hoping to find proof of financial corruption, so Egypt can get back its missing billions and this money can be used to help develop the country.

Ahmed Imaduddeen, Abu Dhabi

Corruption not a clear-cut matter

I write regarding your editorial Battle against corruption starts at the top (June 1). We should be asking: what is bribery? Is it immoral or unethical, or is it just the way of the powerful over those less powerful; the way of those who have the money to control those who want the money?

There have been times in my life when I have taken advantage of situations and people because I was in a position to do so.

Over a 40-year sales career, I learnt that pure logic and economic rationale were not the basis of a sale.

I remember selling a photocopier to a prospect with whom I could not even get an appointment. So I showed up at his church fair, saw that he was working at a table and played a toss-it game with him. He told me to come by his office on Monday, when I made the sale.

Another time, I sent a get-well card to the vice-president of a major organisation, and that was the tipping point that made the sale go my way over a competitor.

Is either case bribery?

I can still sleep well in these instances, but I'm not so sure about the ethics of more "direct" enticements to buy.

Is a lunch or a dinner or tickets to a great new show, or maybe a weekend at a nice resort the start of a slippery slope? Where does one draw the line - or is there a line at all?

It's easy to say "clean it up". But what do we replace it with, and who monitors the monitors?

Tom Pattillo, Canada

Parking problem invites accidents

As pointed out in Why Naveen is driving in circles (June 3) parking is becoming worse in the Tourist Club area of the capital.

Sometimes I search more than an hour for a parking place, especially when I come home after 6pm.

There are just not enough spaces. You pay a lot of money for a service not provided. Just look around the post office, where cars are parking on the road, blocking one lane.

It is dangerous and I am just waiting for some horrible accident to happen.

Brigitte Peetz, Abu Dhabi

New way to fight fires worth a look


After reading Don't evacuate, said mall guard (June 2) I would like to draw attention to the latest technology in fire-fighting.

Aerosol fire suppression units are said to be capable of killing a fire within seconds. These should be investigated.

A Haked, Sharjah

Anti-mingling law could turn to farce

Would somebody please clarify the situation regarding mingling at entertainment venues in the UAE?

I think the writer of the letter Open-mic nights are just for fun (May 22) hit the nail on the head when he suggested the law was designed to prevent an activity that is already illegal in its own right.

But as The National notes, the law as it stands is preventing musicians from harmlessly interacting with their audience before and after a show or during their breaks.

Presumably this broad application of the law could also make it illegal for a quiz-master at a trivia night to ask questions and collect answers, or for a comedian to interact with a heckler.

It could also mean the prohibition of acts that rely on audience participation, such as improvisational theatre and "magic" shows.

Surely this was not the intention of the law.

J Johannson, Dubai