x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Public safety standards versus do it yourself

A reader would very much like to know where the licensed contractors are and how they are licensed.

I would like to respond to Mark Preece's letter to the editor The dangers of improper wiring (December 22).  I am sure that many residents of Abu Dhabi welcome the Regulation and Supervision Bureau's efforts in improving building standards along with the stipulation that work should only be carried out by licensed contractors.

I have two issues with his comments. Firstly, I wholeheartedly applaud The National's articles for advising on how to do a bit of do it yourself (DIY). We are becoming a lazy generation and incapable of doing things for ourselves so why not encourage us to do something as long as it is correct advice?

I appreciate the advice provided especially when I have had, quite simply, useless individuals wiring my lights, changing sockets and doing other general maintenance which scares the living daylights out of me when I see how it is being done. Surely having a little bit of knowledge to change my own light is useful in following up on bad practices along with perhaps helping me to save some dirhams in doing a small job myself.

Secondly, I would very much like to know where the licensed contractors are and how they are licensed. I have seen "licensed contractors" and the men that they send in to do the physical work lack the most basic of tools, knowledge or competency.

Mr Preece and his team at the bureau should be applauded for trying to improve standards but they have a long way to go unless the UAE starts adopting tough regulations about the types of workers who are hired for the types of jobs they do. I am never surprised but still saddened when yet another fire is reported in a building or something falls down. I know with ensuring stronger regulation, the safety of maintenance work will be second to none, but with that will be higher costs. So yet again, I may be tempted again to do a little bit of DIY.

RA, Abu Dhabi


Appreciation of good police work

The article Illegal wedding staff to be deported (December 23) reported on 150 Filipinas who were caught illegally working part time at a wedding reception. This was a job well done. The concerned authorities are on high alert to keep the laws of the land on the right track.

This was unfortunate for the ones who were caught but for whatever reasons they engaged in illegal work. They should take note that the end doesn't justify the means. There are proper channels on how to work legally in the country. This incident will curb illegal employment and discourage runaway housemaids from working part time. In sum, it is good for the reputation of the country.

Mariam al Yanyo, Abu Dhabi


In reference to Two prostitutes accused of trying to bribe police (December 22), whenever I read such articles, I am always proud of the righteous law officials who reject the morally wrong but attractive prospect of earning good money on the side without having to sweat for it. This is because they are humans of good values and principles who stick to them whatever be the circumstances.

There are countries famed for corruption, where the menace has become so entrenched within all layers of society that their people no longer see it as a crime and no one reports it anymore. In fact, right from childhood they accept it as a necessity of their daily lives and learn to tolerate the evil and eventually become partners with it.

My experiencing the daylight robbery going on unashamedly while vacationing in one such country over the last two months made me want to comment on these honest officers who wouldn't let criminals loose just so that they can get richer. I pray that all the citizens of this nation always possess such strong moral values, for more than your wealth or your looks, it's always your culture and your values that earn you true respect.

F Baasleim, Dubai


A blow in favour of ethical principles

The business article Agency fined over doctored image (December 20) described how a public relations firm was fined Dh15,000 for distributing a doctored photo. This is a monumental move on the part of Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) and for ethical standards in general. Truth-telling should be a fundamental value in any field, but particularly in the communications business. PR agencies should never engage in lying or deception - even if it benefits themselves or their clients.

More broadly, this region is replete with tales of shoddy professional standards for both public relations practitioners and journalists. And this move directly confronts the cultural taboos against public embarrassment. Those taboos often dampen any calls to publicly right ethical lapses.

The fine will benefit the PR business in the Middle East, leading other firms to pause before they flippantly engage in unethical practices. And having a debate about the underlying cultural values should help as well. What should we value more - ethical principles or public standing? Perhaps that's a conversation we should start.

Matt Duffy, Abu Dhabi