x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Stop the music, please

Eurovision is waste of time and effort, a reader writes. Other letter topics: driving licences, private space companies and the British Empire.

A reader laments all the attention afforded to Eurovision. Vyachedlav Oseledko / AFP
A reader laments all the attention afforded to Eurovision. Vyachedlav Oseledko / AFP

I was a little startled to read New rule lets youths learn to drive at 17 (May 26). Considering the number of news reports about young drivers having accidents, some of them fatal to themselves or other people, I would have thought that caution is called for here.

On the other hand, I'm not too old to remember the pressure young people feel to start driving.

But there's a good compromise available here: let people under 18 take the test, but only on condition that they also take additional driver-safety training classes, including some film footage showing the horrible consequences of careless or reckless driving.

Victor Khouri, Dubai

Silly song contest a waste of effort

Ahh, the Eurovision song contest. What a glorious festival of inanity and mediocrity.

Your story Azerbaijan on global stage with Eurovision (May 26) makes the point that some 100 million people were expected to watch the show.

What an astonishing waste of manpower. If Eurovision didn't exist and all those people could be induced to spend the hour doing something constructive - picking up litter on their street, talking to an elderly neighbour, cleaning out their cupboards, anything at all - that would be about 50,000 man-years of useful things done. The world would be a better place.

Louise Sangamon, Abu Dhabi

British Empire strikes back

I read with interest Jonathan Gornall's essay on Queen Elizabeth and the British Empire (The end of an empire, May 26).

The writer seems to be suggesting that the empire was on balance a bad thing, but also to be bemoaning its demise.

There's no denying that the British Empire was built by ruthless and bloody tactics. Every empire is. That said, isn't it broadly true that former British colonies - the US, Canada, Australia, India, South Africa and many others - have a tradition of better governance than, say, former possessions of France, Belgium or Spain? This is not coincidence.

Rudyard Kipling said it well, in the voice of an ordinary British soldier: "We broke a king and we built a road/ A courthouse stands where the reg'ment goed/ And the river's clean where the raw blood flowed."

Stanley Ortheris, Dubai

Fire safety is not a smokescreen

Your story Alarm monitoring scheme a boost for fire safety (May 24) is excellent news and an initiative to be applauded.

At the same time, the authorities should check that all the smoke detectors are in place, are located in the correct areas of the apartment, are working and, most importantly, are really smoke detectors not the cheaper heat detectors being installed by some unscrupulous or ignorant contractors. Keiran Aust, UK

Curriculum should reflect UAE values The initiative described in National identity to be taught from the age of 5 (May 24) is positive.

The history, culture and ways of life of a country should be included in its school curriculums. This way, all children in the UAE (expatriates and Emiratis alike) will know more about the country they were born and raised in.

I'm baffled as to why I was taught so much British history at school in Dubai and practically nothing about the UAE. It served little purpose for a child growing up here.

F Lick, Dubai

Shaken and stirred by Dragon story

I write regarding your story Dragon docks at space station (May 26). While the official line is that privatisation of routine services to the International Space Station is a good thing that will allow Nasa to concentrate on boldly going where no man has gone before, does anyone remember the plot of the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker?

The villain, Hugo Drax, stole a space shuttle made by his own company as part of an evil scheme to build a space station for a selected few dozen "genetically perfect" specimens before killing off the rest of the human population.

Let's hope a latter-day Drax Industries doesn't bid for space projects. B Pierce, Abu Dhabi Traitor deserves long prison term

It is the best news that a traitor has been sent to prison (Pakistan stands firm on jail term for doctor, May 25). Why are Americans so furious about the sentence given to Shakil Afridi? He is a Pakistani citizen who should not have spied for a foreign country.

As for stopping aid to Pakistan, they can keep it. S Khan, Dubai