x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 January 2018

A combination that won't work

Video games have no place in the world of theatre, a reader says, responding to a story in yesterday's paper. Other letter topics: bedbugs, driving as a metaphor, Irom Sharmila, debtors' prison, UN troops, and plastic surgery for men.

Responding to an article about the way video games such as Angry Birds, above, are coming to be seen as art and are appearing in London theatre productions, a reader says such games are the antithesis of art. Jason Alden / Bloomberg
Responding to an article about the way video games such as Angry Birds, above, are coming to be seen as art and are appearing in London theatre productions, a reader says such games are the antithesis of art. Jason Alden / Bloomberg

I found Driven by need for independence (September 1) to be inspirational.

For all that other people can do to help them, I know because of someone in my own family that the handicapped take greater satisfaction, naturally, in being able to help themselves.

Driving is a prime source of a sense of independence.

Veejay Chandwani, Dubai

Bedbugs creepy even in theory

Your story Bedbug problem bites deeper (September 1) gave me the creeps - I was scratching all day and I'm not infected.

There's just something psychologically repellent about these tiny monsters who attack while we sleep and make life so miserable.

I have a US friend whose home was infested and the whole family was miserable for months.

I hope scientists - who seem capable of inventing a new miracle shampoo every month - can come up with a way to control these bugs without poisoning children or pets.

Molly Thibodeau, Dubai

Debtors' Catch-22 like fictional ordeal

The story of Koonimookel Abdullah (I fear I'm in jail for life says forgotten debtor, September 1) is staggering. It reminded me of the work of both Charles Dickens and Joseph Heller.

Being thrown into debtors' prison and forgotten really sounds to my western ears like something that happened to underclass wretches in the bad old days of the 1700s or early 1800s.

And only Heller's Catch-22 matches the absurdity of this: you can't get out of jail until you pay the debt, and you can't make money to pay the debt while you're in jail.

Worse, even though Abdullah should have been released by now, according to the law, he's still behind bars.

Maybe a better literary reference would be Franz Kafka.

There's got to be a better way to deal with cases such as this. Nobody wins in this system.

Theresa Newhart, Abu Dhabi

Media ignored Irom Sharmila

I refer to India's other hunger striker lies ignored for 10 years (September 1), about Irom Sharmila who has been on hunger strike for more than a decade to protest a controversial anti-insurgency law.

It is pathetic that the majority of the middle class conveniently ignored Irom Sharmila. Anna Hazare's movement against widespread corruption is different from the specific issue Ms Irom raised, but still we should appreciate and support her brave attempt.

It was a shame that even the media that spread word of the Hazare movement across the world has kept silent about Ms Irom.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman

Video games have no place on stage

This strange marriage between video games and live theatre (Games draw ahead in war of words, September 1) may be good for games but can't help theatre.

In a way, games are the opposite of theatre. Video games deal in special effects, shooting and fantasy, but they aren't art. The best theatre is all about the real world, though it may artistically use metaphor and symbolism. Gaming isn't about thought; serious theatre is. I earnestly hope that the marriage of the two, as described in your story, is just a fad.

Ernst Holmgren, UK

Real men don't get plastic surgery

Men having plastic surgery? (Men look to make the cosmetic cut, September 1). I'm sure the plastic surgeons want us to think this is common, but I'm not buying it.

There is an ancient debate over why women work so hard to look good, and equally ancient is the observation that men don't feel the need to bother. I suspect that this is more genetic than cultural, and so it won't be changed by any fad - or marketing campaign.

John Dignan, Abu Dhabi

UN troops don't do much good

I'm starting to have confidence in Libya's National Transitional Council. At least they had the good sense to say a firm "no thank you" to the offer to send United Nations troops. (UN plan for a military presence is rejected, September 1).

Much of UN peacekeeping has an unsavoury history. Soldiers from poor countries, ill-trained and badly disciplined, can get involved in economic and sexual crime, or mere brigandry, and display little courage when it's needed.

And UN leadership is so weak that even the Dutch (in Bosnia) and the Belgians (in Rwanda) just stood by as massacres happened.

UN troops are suspected of bringing cholera to Haiti.

Gerard Lukaniuk, US