x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

Prima donna behaviour wears thin

A reader says many tennis fans are getting tired of Victoria Azarenka's antics. Other letter topics: reading standards, pet care standards, university training standards and nuclear-disclosure standards.

A reader complains about the on-court antics of tennis star Victoria Azarenka. Karim Jaafar / AFP
A reader complains about the on-court antics of tennis star Victoria Azarenka. Karim Jaafar / AFP

The standard of reading among students in UAE schools described in Girls far outperform boys in reading and science (February 24) is quite shocking.

But then, the students are not to blame for poor reading habits. It is the system, or rather modern society, that's to blame. We are rapidly experiencing change or "modernisation" in this world, but we are not taking the required measures to maintain many values for the future. Reading is just one of those things that if not safeguarded will perish with time.

The last part of the article stressed the importance of reading in the library. But we can't tell the youth of today: "OK, you've got to read. Now go to the library." There aren't enough libraries, not at convenient locations anyway. We must have more libraries in every area in the city and beyond, so the students have the enthusiasm to discover what's in there. They aren't going to go to some other place at the other end of the city just to read.

Amir Shah, Abu Dhabi

Pets deserve long-term care

In Pets prove the high cost of unconditional love (February 25) the director of Urban Tails, Aideen O'Mara, is quoted as saying: "The dog was deaf. She was born in Spain, was taken away from the mother way too young and put on a private jet that burst her eardrums."

As someone who has worked for people who lost interest in their numerous dogs after a period of weeks, I am not surprised to hear that the dog was taken from the mother prematurely and flown inappropriately, which destroyed its hearing.

Dogs in this region are too often thought of as short-term novelties rather than as 10 to 20-year commitments.

Brian Meegan, Dubai

Azarenka's antics are wearing thin

I think Victoria Azarenka's recent withdrawal from the Dubai Tennis Championships thoroughly deserved the criticism it got (Agnieszka Radwanska upset with Victoria Azarenka's behaviour, February 25).

In fact, it would come as no surprise if the entire tennis world has had enough of her antics. How can the world's best player always sit with her headphones on, bobbing about to music, while her opponent and the umpire patiently wait for her to do the coin toss?

When she does grace them with her presence, she can't seem to stand still or make any eye contact, preferring to go through her service motion. Can't she wait 20 seconds? There's "the zone" and then there's just plain rude. Her grunting is one thing, but it's exasperating to have to watch someone at the pinnacle of sport behave like a spoilt junior-tennis brat.

Surely there are people in "the biz" whose job it is to talk to players about ridiculous behaviour like this. Or is money such a driving force in sport nowadays that everyone is too scared to stick their neck out?

Name withheld by request

Many lecturers got the right training

In the story Universities work on lecturers' language skills (February 25), Raymi van der Spek, the executive director at Wollongong in Dubai, is not correct in some of his statements.

Those of us who studied in American universities did receive additional training in pedagogy and communication skills. We also taught classes under supervision. I also learnt not to make generalised statements to the press.

Jane Bristol Rhys, Abu Dhabi

Are we asking too much of Iran?

Iran faces a delicate issue (US worries grow over Israeli strike on Iran, February 20). On the one hand it should show the world all it's got and put it at ease, while on the other hand it fears that such show-and-tell will give its enemies a road map to bomb it.

Saddam Hussein faced a similar dilemma 10 years ago. Although he wanted the world to know he had nothing to hide, he also wanted to bluff his archenemy Iran into believing that Iraq still had WMD. Bluffing did not go well for Saddam, and it might not go well for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But since the price tag for getting rid of Saddam proved so high, maybe we ought to reflect what we are asking of Iran now. As threats to attack it increase, we are asking it to take us to the depths of its arsenal and show us all it's got.

We need a broader perspective.

Exactly when was the last time we asked Pakistan, India, China or Russia to show us their arsenal?

"But those countries are not advocating the destruction of Israel," you say. True, but Israel is not a thorn in their side either.

Surely, however, we can see beyond Iran's hyperbole and figure out its underlying purpose. Or have we forgotten that not all Iranians are thrilled with Mr Ahmadinejad?

George Kafantaris, Abu Dhabi