x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Strange way to choose a leader

The US primary system is an odd and unfair way to choose presidential candidates, a reader says. Other letter topics: paperwork for Filipinos, SMS adverts, panda diplomacy, and China's few friends.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, campaigning in New Hampshire, is taking part in a system that gives a few small-state voters too much power, a reader argues. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, campaigning in New Hampshire, is taking part in a system that gives a few small-state voters too much power, a reader argues. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Thank you for the story Fast-track system for Filipino exit permits (January 10).

Returning to the UAE after a recent visit home, I went through the inconveniences of getting an overseas employment certificate. The verification process at the airport was a real problem. I barely made my plane.

I totally agree with the lady in the story who said the Philippine "government regards us as modern-day heroes but we're not treated [that way] at our airport."

I love my country and look forward to be with my family during holidays, but Philippine pride and tourism campaigns should go beyond cute slogans.

Overseas Filipino workers are the best ambassadors of our own country, with our numbers and positive stories. But our government should treat us with respect and make it easy for us to travel in and out of our homeland.

Sharon Elaurza, Dubai

Mixed prospects for solar power

Talk about mixed messages: Page 5 of The National told of the announcement of a big new power plant (Dh12bn solar plant for Dubai, January 10) but the business section (Solar start-ups in the shade, also January 10) says that whole industry is in the doldrums.

It's confusing.

Richard Simpson, Abu Dhabi

Panda diplomacy is truly valuable

Why panda diplomacy is cute but ethically questionable (January 9) does not tell the whole story.

Were it not for the cooperative relationships between China and the other countries with pandas, we would know much less about breeding than we currently do.

Loans differ from gifts in that each loan is accompanied by research objectives to be accomplished during the term of the loan. For example, solving Yang Yang's problem has led to the birth of three cubs at Zoo Atlanta alone.

It is very hard to study pandas in the wild, due to their elusive nature, and they live in rugged terrain solely within Chinese borders. By involving scientists around the world, we learn much more about this magnificent species, and are contributing to a significant increase in both the captive and wild populations.

Paula Brantner, US

Double standard in hotel case?

I refer to your story Burj Al Arab chef and butcher accused of taking bribes to buy subpar food (January 9).

So the Italian and the Austrian were deported, while the two Indians are behind bars?

Sajan Rosario, UK

China does not have many friends

I refer to your editorial China's security benefits with transparency (January 8).

China's military partners are very few. There is North Korea, and then there is ..., hmm, maybe Iran? Pakistan? It's hard to say. China does not really have many friends.

True, many countries have relations with China, but only because of economics. China's long list of exports includes products that break after a short time, poisoned dog food, tainted milk, ineffective drugs, cyber attacks, naval confrontations, support for its supposed friend North Korea, and bad treatment of Tibetans, Uighurs and Falun Gong members.

It is high time for the US to signal to the world that China's military build-up means nothing but trouble for the world.

Marisa Bennet, UK

Adverts by SMS are not welcome

I keep getting advertising sent to me via SMS messaging on my phone. I find this intrusive and irritating. Yesterday I hadd two SMS ads while meeting with my boss.

Advertisers need to learn that potential customers need to be receptive for adverts to have a chance to sell. Getting a text while driving, conversing, or otherwise occupied is merely an annoyance.

VJ Mehta, Dubai

US primary voting not very efficient

I have been reading about the US primary elections system (Romney banking on wide base of support, January 10, and other recent stories) and I find the process rather foolish.

Small numbers of voters in a few small states seem to have the power to drive some candidates out of the race and to give one or two a significant lead in media attention across the country.

In a country which talks so much about democracy, is this fair?

Why don't they have these first primaries in California or Texas or New York, really important states with many millions of voters?

Michael Khoury, Abu Dhabi