x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Test of money and machines

A reader congratulates Sebastian Vettel and suggests a twist to Formula One racing. Other topics: education and dyslexia and alternative therapies.

A reader congratulates Sebastian Vittel but suggests a new twist to Formula One racing. Paulo Whitaker / Reuters
A reader congratulates Sebastian Vittel but suggests a new twist to Formula One racing. Paulo Whitaker / Reuters

Language can either divide us or unite us

Writer Afshan Ahmed has touched on a very interesting topic in Lack of Arabic dyslexia test frustrates parents (November 24).

I have spent a lot of time in the UAE and hope to return soon, but where I come from, in India, language is either a barrier or a liberator, depending on what your situation is.

It is a barrier when you don't speak the common language fluently - for the obvious reason that you will find it hard to communicate with people outside your home - and a liberator when you know the language and can create relationships with people.

Unfortunately, I face a challenge with my grandparents, who can speak English, but would prefer that I speak to them in our native Gujarati tongue.

My Gujarati is only a notch better than my Arabic, which is close to nothing really.

I studied Arabic in school, but it was only a basic syllabus. Extra books would have gone to good use then.

Suheil Kapadia, India

I appreciate Dr Natasha Ridge's comments about the benefits of home schooling in Expatriates fear compulsory schooling (November 18).

The home schoolers I know are among the keenest people on the topic of education and the importance of learning well.

If improving the rate and quality of learning is the goal of this law, then consultations could be held to ask residents what they would like to see.

I would lovebetter access to well-stocked public libraries, community centres with low-cost classes for all ages and more partnerships between existing schools and home schoolers.

I have heard there is already a programme where home-schooled students read English books to young Emiratis.

What a nice idea.

S Imam, Bahrain

I think the Ministry of Education and the schools should be made more aware of problems caused when children with learning disabilities are denied an education.

Officials should try to understand why some parents are veering towards home schooling, before they impose fines when they do.

I think the problems starts with the schools and the premise on which they are run and managed. They should be educational, not financial, institutions.

Name withheld by request

Different views of homeopathy

I was disappointed to read Emiratis turn to traditional medicine (November 26), which appears to validate homeopathy.

While many of the so-called traditional or alternative therapies and medicines are quite valuable in treating certain ailments, homeopathy is not one of them.

It has been widely and comprehensively discredited by science.

The US Food and Drug Administration - the world's premier authority on these matters - notes on its website: "the agency does not evaluate homeopathic drug products for safety or effectiveness, and is not aware of any scientific evidence that supports homeopathy as effective".

A 2005 study led by Matthias Egger, director of the department of social and preventive medicine at the University of Berne in Switzerland, and published in the British medical journal The Lancet, showed that homeopathic "remedies" have the same effect as placebos.

People with serious and life-threatening conditions should not put their trust in homeopathy.

Mary Morris, Dubai

Many Arabs choose homeopathy for their children's ailments, such as allergies, chronic respiratory complaints, skin problems, and digestion and metabolism issues.

Homeopathy keeps a balance of mind, emotions and body; people also choose it for stress and anxiety.

Many health insurance companies also cover homoeopathy.

F Mapolin, Abu Dhabi

A test of money and machines

While I congratulate Sebastian Vettel on his Formula One victory (Champion deserves all of our respect, November 27), it seems to me that the credit ought to be shared with the people who funded and prepared his car.

There are some competitors who, no matter how good their driving skills, will never win an F1 event, because their team isn't well-enough resourced.

And, of course, many people are excluded from competing in this sport altogether because of the prohibitive costs.

Out of interest, I'd like to see a race at the highest level of motorsport where every driver is driving the same type of car, maintained by the same mechanics, with independent pit crews.

Hans Fischer, Dubai