x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Shop 'til it stops

A reader says traditional shopping will slowly disappear as we make more and more purchases online. Other letter topics: the earthquake in Iran, Ramadan and Mitt Romney's running mate.

A reader says traditional shopping will disappear as we make more purchases online. Satish Kumar / The National
A reader says traditional shopping will disappear as we make more purchases online. Satish Kumar / The National

As someone who really enjoys food, I found Bearing the buffet's blows (August 12) in bad taste.

All major religious occasions, such as Ramadan, Eid, Christmas, Easter and Diwali, are times of reconnecting with family, of laughter, joy, festivities and gift giving.

Central to such occasions and festivities is food. Typically, cooking a lavish feast is a symbol of love, affection and sheer happiness that the occasion has come around again.

The food was meant to be enjoyed, it was a focal point to create shared memories and, of course, everyone overindulged a bit. That is quite different to likening eating with a "sport" where "your stomach is going to undergo serious trauma".

Enjoying food does not equate to gorging. The article essentially implies that it does. Food is about savouring flavours, textures, new ingredients and methods regardless of whether it's at a corner restaurant or a five-star hotel.

It means keeping an eye out for new dishes as well as relishing well-cooked familiar items. Granted, the article alluded to all this, but enjoying food definitely does not mean making "at least three visits" to the buffet table to demonstrate how much you can take on board without "wimping out" and to ensure "your dirhams (aren't) squandered".

The article correctly suggests that the huge spread available during iftar buffets is an opportunity to experiment, but it is definitely not one to "wear comfortable clothes" and prepare for a "marathon" of what is basically eating with our nose in the trough.

A few weeks ago, The National ran several articles in which celebrities and well-known personalities spoke about what Ramadan and Eid meant to them. They all emphasised that it was a time of reflection and spiritual development, of spending time with family and, of course, the joy and happiness of being together.

Bearing the buffet's blows didn't reflect that spirit.

Bonita Das Bhatla, Abu Dhabi

Iran quake victims need our support

Regarding 150 dead as earthquakes hit Iran's north-west (August 12), the people affected by the two devastating earthquakes on Saturday need shelter, food, medicine and doctors.

The United Nations should make every effort to help them, and so should the United States.

Americans are not made of stone, despite grave differences with the Iranian regime.

This is a time for all of us to come together as a world community and offer relief to those in need, no matter what country they are from.

Shivering cold, hunger and pain have no regime ideology, and none should stand in the way of our natural inclination to help.

George Kafantaris, US

They are innocent people. My heart goes out to them all. Brigitte von Bulow, Abu Dhabi

Online sales are way of the future

I read Online retailers lead surge in Ramadan sales (August 12) with great interest.

While I am sure it is true that some of this sales increase is due to the fact that people would prefer not to go out to the shops in the summer heat, I also see this as the beginning of a trend.

As we have seen with the impact Amazon.com and the like have had on physical book shops elsewhere in the world, the trend is moving away from physically shopping for certain products.

First with books, then DVDs (which are in decline now because people favour downloads or on-demand pay TV), then phones, computer games and gadgets, shoppers are preferring to sit in the comfort of their living rooms, browse catalogues and order products that will come to them.

Of course, it will be a long, long time before all our shopping is done this way - and there will have to be improvements to the postal system here to make it happen - but it may be the case that the UAE's famed shopping malls will one day be just a memory.

Ian Dunn, Abu Dhabi

Arming rebels no solution for Syria

In reference to Without intervention, Syria will be dragged down with Assad (August 13), arming the Free Syrian Army is a huge mistake.

They are a rabble with dubious aims and the doubtful support of a few villagers.

With terror groups now operating in Syria, a cautious approach must be maintained.

Frederick Melick, Australia

US campaign is short on laughs

In response to Romney takes risk with running mate (August 12), I'd say: not as big a risk as John McCain took with Sarah Palin.

However, I will add that without the likes of Ms Palin on a ticket this time, who is going to provide the comic relief in what promises to be a hard-fought but essentially boring campaign?

Charles Palmer, Abu Dhabi