x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

The secret of capturing laughter

A reader tells how a photographer for The National got a cheerful photo. Other topics: taxis on Yas, school woes, the euro and 11-11-11.

A photographer's trick won a laugh from sisters Boushra, left, and Line Dalile. Lee Hoagland / The National
A photographer's trick won a laugh from sisters Boushra, left, and Line Dalile. Lee Hoagland / The National

Re: Conflicting signals: is euro zone destined to shrink? (November 11).

Internationalists and Europhiles are saying the euro is too large to fail, just as banks recently and successfully claimed to be.

The collapse of Lehman Brothers was calamitous because no one believed it would happen. The slow death of the euro has given time for everyone to prepare. Fundamentally in bankruptcy the only difference between an individual, an institution and a government is the size of the number. Iceland, Argentina and some South-East Asian countries are recent examples showing that the world will not suddenly end due to defaults.

As at the time of the Treaty of Versailles, after the First World War, borders are again in danger of disappearing in an undemocratic mix of punishment and opportunism.

David Daly, Dubai

Photographer got the accent right

Too smart for school, too young for college (November 11) was a good article about my sister and me.

I want to mention this humorous story: when this photo was taken, photographer Lee Hoagland was trying to make me and sis laugh, so he asked us to say "cheese" but it didn't work.

Then he wanted to know how to say cheese in Arabic, which is "jubneh". The photo was taken when we burst into laughter after he said "OK girls, say jubneh!" and he caught us laughing out loud. And he got the accent right!

Boushra Dalile, Dubai

Many problems in state schools

My own experience and your story Empty desks as parents extend Eid for children (November 10) make me wonder if a government education is worthwhile.

After starting in private school, my high-school-aged child now attends government school. No emergency evacuation drill to date, no information on the teacher's contributions to their field of teaching, bus-station-style parent-teacher conferences lacking any privacy, and no student-led conferences with a portfolio to show evidence of academic success and areas for growth. No basic supplies for the nurse. Food of questionable nutritional value in the cafeteria.

And last week we received a message that attendance was mandatory the two days after the Eid holiday. We sent our child but due to poor attendance they did no learning the first day. She was sent home early on the second day.

Where is the accountability to parents and the school system?

Did we make a mistake entrusting our child into government education? I am a deeply worried mother.

Name withheld by request

China's oil thirst not surprising

China hunting for energy resources in the Arctic (November 9) is no surprise.

Beyond the Canadian oil sands, China has also invested heavily in exploration and production in Trinidad and elsewhere.

Chinese funding is essential for exploration and exploitation in smaller countries.

With climate change opening the Arctic, I sincerely hope that while the race is on to claim its riches those countries that have sovereign rights will put measures in place to regulate exploration.

Randall Mohammed, Dubai

Fares are unfair for Yas Island taxis


I read with some frustration your news report Formula One VIPs land free for all deal at Al Bateen (November 11).

Having just taken a taxi back from a Yas concert, I feel that we non-VIPs have a bit of a rough deal. I was outraged to hail a cab on the island only to discover that the starting fare was four times the normal amount. I asked both the driver and the call centre about this and was told that all taxis coming from Yas for the F1 event were charging this.

This is a disgrace, will hurt tourism and leaves an extremely sour feeling for residents.

Who makes these decisions? They clearly aren't made in the interests of the drivers (who don't earn the extra money themselves and have to deal with the complaints) nor of tourists or residents.

With little competition, the taxi companies will continue to get away with overcharging people.

Name withheld by request Quirky date gives chance for debate

Your interesting story The day when one + one = one (November 11), about the date 11-11-11, caused my friends and me to get into a big funny discussion and debate over the calendar.

We realised that there won't ever be a 22-22-22, because there aren't 22 months.

But 900 years ago there was 11-11-1111. And at 11.11am and pm on that day …

Liviana Persoja, Dubai