x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Reader's comment on gold machine

Letters discuss banks, living in a big city, silly hats, airport annoyance, a racing driver's complaint and tax evasion.

Snoop Dogg in his khandoura at Yas Island on May 6. A reader asks how it is that performers who
Snoop Dogg in his khandoura at Yas Island on May 6. A reader asks how it is that performers who "cut across many of the local values" are welcomed to the UAE. Doesn't this send a confusing message? Andrew Henderson / The National

Your story Cheaper mortgage rates to test demand for property (June 19) prompted me to write to you.

I purchased a home in Dubai in March 2009. Entering into a 20-year mortgage is like a marriage, and mine has been horrific from the start. However, I'm subject to a hefty penalty if I close it in the first five years.

As banks offer more competitive rates, I hope their products and services will also become more competitive and customer focused. Those of us who already own property should be allowed to transfer our mortgages with as little cost and headache as possible.

I'm keen to "divorce" my current mortgage provider, but need a new bank to cover the costs of doing so, as many banks do in western markets. But I have yet to find one here that will do that.

Elan Fabbri, Dubai

Staying in touch with her culture

I liked the comment of Mariam al Serkal in your story How to be yourself in the big city (June 19): "I thought it would be easy to lose track of who I am when abroad. Instead, I became more attached to my culture, religion and country - more than I would have back home."

Good luck with the programme Ms al Serkal, I admire you for your courage and success. May Allah bless you.

Ahmet Kianin, Dubai

Do funny hats hide a secret?

Thank you for the entertaining spread of photos of silly hats from this year's Royal Ascot in the UK (Haute hats, June 19).

Why are so many otherwise sensible women willing to put any absurdity on their heads?

I wish I still had my old 78-rpm record of the Danny Kaye hit Anatole of Paris, a comic song about a crazed milliner. Via Google, I have refreshed my memory of the song's final lines:

"And why do I sew each new chapeau / With a style they most look positively grim in? / Strictly between us, entre-nous / I hate women!"

At least Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie made their appearance at Ascot in hats a little more sensible than those things they wore at the royal wedding in April.

Daniel Kazimierski, Abu Dhabi

Airport treatment is annoying

I refer to your story Woman 'hurled abuse' at airport staff (June 19).

Members of the Mumbai airport staff like to go through a lady's jewellery from tip to toe. They investigate every piece. It goes through various hands.

This is more than annoying.

Angelika Lancsak, Austria

I'm no beginner: Jon Simmonds

The sport story Late bloomer Simmonds is making up for lost time (June 17) contains a characteristically arrogant and inaccurate quote from Mr Karim al Azhari [about an incident in an auto race last month, involving this letter-writer and Mr al Azhari].

It is not my opinion of his driving and general conduct that counts, it is the opinion of the FIA which deemed his actions so deplorable that they took away his UAE National Race Licence until January 2012 as punishment.

That the stewards of the meeting didn't act does not make his actions acceptable.

I would also note that having held a race licence for 10 years, competed in numerous international races and driven or managed race teams in the UAE for five years with great success, I would hardly classify myself as "new to motorsport" as Mr al Azhari claimed.

I have also never been sanctioned by the FIA.

Jon Simmonds, Dubai

Gold machine gets lots of use

I was impressed and a little surprised to learn from your paper how busy the celebrated gold machine at the Emirates Palace hotel really is. (One year on, the gold machine shows its mettle, June 19).

If the machine spits out 180 of those tiny gold bars every day, as reported, that's one transaction every eight minutes, around the clock.

Any time I've been in the hotel lobby, I've seen people taking pictures of the machine, but I've never seen anyone actually making a purchase from it.

Carol MacNeil, Abu Dhabi

Stop the scourge of tax evasion

Thank you for the well-done story India's push to tame tax evasion, (June 19).

In every country, tougher inspections and penalties would lead to a shower of cash for the public, not in the literal sense as in the anecdote in the story, but in the sense that governments would have much more money to spend on worthwhile programmes.

Austin Jackson, Dubai