x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Not ready for statehood?

In some parts of the world, western notions of modern statehood simply can't take root, a reader suggests. Other letter topics: Emirati workers, American schools, greedy landlords, hateful Tweets and parking permits.

Families queue at a food-distribution centre in South Sudan. A reader says that instability in countries such as the new South Sudan and Afghanistan threaten the prospects of any central government. Hannah McNeish / AFP
Families queue at a food-distribution centre in South Sudan. A reader says that instability in countries such as the new South Sudan and Afghanistan threaten the prospects of any central government. Hannah McNeish / AFP

Tribe first, country second, as South Sudan's unity evaporates (May 8) illustrates the same point that we have seen in Afghanistan and in Somalia: some places just don't fit into the western model of the modern state.

Some states are ethnically and culturally monolithic; Japan for example. Some are successfully bicultural and bilingual; Canada comes to mind.

Some have many indigenous ethnicities, languages and cultures but function more-or-less well; India is the best example. (India and Canada are federal countries, allowing some local autonomy). In some other states, the majority ruthlessly oppresses and overwhelms minorities; think of China.

But some places can't establish a central, modern government to broker compromises. In Iraq they may manage it, but in South Sudan, as in Afghanistan, small-region autonomy is so fiercely guarded, and rivalries are so deep, that establishing a "state" may be impossible.

Michael Kingston, Dubai

Start believing in Emirati workforce

Emirati employees are not lazy - enough already. Professional managers and employment consultants must begin to recognise the reality of the present UAE culture.

As is happening all around the world, money is (except for the greed of obsessed senior executives) not the motivator it perhaps once was.

I have worked with Emirati women, for instance. They are tremendously motivated. They are very intelligent. They are aware of the world around them, inside and outside the UAE.

Tom Pattillo, Canada

Disappointed with American schools

My children go to an American-curriculum school in Dubai; I agree with the KHDA assessment in your article, Schools fail 100,000 children (May 8). Despite the fact that my children's school is accredited, in Grade 11 and 12 it offers only portions of the SAT I and TOEFL exams. It does not offer all three parts of the SAT I, a choice of SAT II subjects or any AP courses, which most reputable universities require.

Another issue facing parents and students going from Grade 9 to Grade 12 is that marks required for SAT I, SAT II (subject SATs) and AP for local universities are low compared to overseas universities. This is an issue for bright students who wish to study in a reputable overseas university.

The American curriculum, when applied correctly, is superb. But the number of schools in the UAE that offer the full American curriculum is limited.

The KHDA should define American schools by accreditation rating, streaming and subject choice from freshman year to senior year. The same should go for all other school curriculla.

Name withheld by request

Greedy landlords are the problem

Your article (The great divide in Dubai living, May 8) is good.

My personal experience is my (greedy) landlord wanted more rent for his villa in Deema and asked us to leave. Net result is that he and many others now have empty properties. He is now advertising it for same amount we offered him, and as we know, that is the starting price, not the actual price he will receive.

When will landlords learn the best tenant is a tenant? Perhaps that should be the title of your next article.

Andrew Bird, Dubai

Don't Tweet if you can't do it nicely

As a long-time resident of the UAE, I totally agree with the sentiments expressed by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi (Stay out of UAE's business, RAK Ruler says, May 6).

There should be consequences for all our actions. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom to abuse others. Some posts on social media are so hateful and not true. Each of us is a unique individual and life would be so much better if only we could celebrate our differences.

Gail Elverd, Sharjah

Pricier fees could fix parking woes

One solution to the capital's parking troubles would be to raise the price of parking permits so that there are just enough parking spaces available (Parking woes hit congested streets, May 6). That way, people who own more than one car would be deterred from keeping the second one in the city. When garages are built, the price could be lowered.

The ideal situation is that people can find a place to park even if they have to pay more for it. At the same time as it raises rates, Abu Dhabi might consider a special lower cost permit for people who are facing financial hardship.

Mark Chase, US