x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

The similarities between Norway and the UAE

I am Norwegian and my best friend is Emirati. Apart from the obvious gender segregation, I find that the UAE shares so many similaries with my native Norway.

I refer to Ghada Alatrash's opinion article The UAE offers a passport to a world with fewer boundaries (October 27). I am Norwegian and my best friend is Emirati. Apart from the obvious gender segregation, I find that the UAE shares so many similarities with my native Norway. Both our countries have invested our oil revenues in developing the countries. The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 benchmarked Norway as one of a few countries of relevance for Abu Dhabi's economic diversification.

I chose to move here because I was fascinated by both the bedouin heritage and the current focus on business and diversification. I am fortunate enough that I get to work with Emiratis every day - as I know people who come here and never interact with local people. I came here with an open mind and with curiosity, and I have a very favourable impression of my Emirati friends and colleagues. It might sound strange, but their close-knit culture, where "everybody knows everybody" and their genuine love for their children's well-being reminds me a lot of my small island town in northern Norway. The main difference? The weather.

GO, Abu Dhabi


Lessons from a highway fatality

I had a very bad start to the day today. On my daily drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, just before the Abu Dhabi airport exit, I saw what looked at first like a pile of orange uniforms, as worn by street cleaners, but what turned out on closer inspection to be the mangled body of one man in such a uniform. A little further on, two young Emiratis were standing by their car which was badly damaged on the passenger side. It appears that the poor cleaner was hit by the car on the hard shoulder.

This was a very graphic example, yet every day I see people of all nationalities driving on the hard shoulder and little is done to stop this.

The occasional clampdown from the police soon fizzles out and the totally irresponsible and extremely selfish behaviour re-establishes itself.

The hard shoulder of a road serves many important purposes, most of them connected with life or death, but it seems this is not appreciated. I know it is difficult to change dangerous driving habits but try telling that to the apparently dead guy I saw, or his family.    

Volker Soppelsa, Dubai


Speeds variable, vigilance constant

The grace speed (the speed you're allowed to above the published speed limit), which is currently 20kph on most roads, should be lowered to 10kph (Police raise speed limits to make roads, October 25). This will make traffic flow better and safer. If everyone drives at the same speed, there will be less chances of accidents.

One thing for sure is that speed limits need to be revised. Some need to go up and some need to go down. Some roads can also benefit from variable speed signs. There's no single formula that fixes all. There's a lot of work to be done.

Now whatever the published speed limit is, it is still down to the users to drive in a safe manner. Just because it says 80kph, it doesn't mean you should just floor it and forget about what's happening around you.

Driving, at the end of the day, is about using your best judgment in the interest of your safety and the safety of others.

I find the biggest problem in the UAE is still the lack of courtesy and alertness. A large percentage of drivers in the UAE fail miserably when it comes to being courteous to others and being aware of what's happening around them.

Zaid D, Abu Dhabi


A treadmill is like a food processor

I refer to the Hala Khalaf's lifestyle article Even boundless generosity has its limits (October 11) which chronicled her yearning for a food processor. Once she obtained one, she never used it. It's the same story with a treadmill.

After buying the food processor and creating all the wonderful meals, you've now gained weight. So what is better than going to the gym than bringing the gym to your home?

Great idea because now you will have more time to exercise and burn all the calories from all that food you've cooked.

Several weeks later, the treadmill is being used as a clothes hanger.

Karim Kabbara, Abu Dhabi


A crowd of illegal hawkers in souq

In reference to Mystery shoppers spot the fakes (October 24), it's amazing how many men approach you in the old gold souq area in Dubai for the sale of fake products. Sometimes one man asks you, you turn the offer down, then the man behind him asks the same question: "Do you want brands for cheap?" I find this very annoying.

Ahmad Babti, Dubai