x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Keep remedial English and stop threat to Arabic

In reference to the article Remedial English to end (February 23), I think this is the wrong approach.

Early morning pedestrians walk in New York City's Times Square. A reader recommends Times Square as an example of pedestrian-friendly city planning.
Early morning pedestrians walk in New York City's Times Square. A reader recommends Times Square as an example of pedestrian-friendly city planning.

In reference to the article Remedial English to end (February 23), I think this is the wrong approach. Many students who come from various countries to study in the US or the UK spend a year studying the English language. So what is the wrong if high school students here in the UAE spend one year in university learning English? This is the norm everywhere. But to force English in high school is too much in a country that speaks Arabic. This way you are forcing the English language to the detriment of the Arabic language. This, in effect, will downgrade the Arabic language in the country. There should a balance between teaching other languages and the mother language to insure that Arabic language skills are not compromised. Osama Kdair, Abu Dhabi

In reference to your editorial Serendipity at the bookshop (February 23) which maintained that Abu Dhabi needs better bookshops, the capital also desperately needs a world class mall to host world class establishments. Dubai has a number and there is a huge exodus to Dubai every weekend for shopping and leisure. Yet the leisure and retail facilities promised for the city have stalled. How many more years will we have to travel to Dubai for these facilities? Ford Desmoineaux, Abu Dhabi

Dubai is a cultural melting pot where nationals from more then 150 countries peacefully co-exist with all their differences and foibles. Like any other cosmopolitan city Dubai and its inhabitants exhibit certain quirks and traits on a day-to-day basis which are uniquely "Dubai-sh".These include: Chairs that face each other - In front of the desk of any manager's office, the two chairs for visitors will always face each other instead of facing the desk and the person they have come to meet. New arrivals to Dubai are perplexed by this and attribute it to a previous uncouth visitor until they visit another office and find the same arrangement. Possible corporate logic for this: if things do not turn as planned, one can always deny ever having a face-to-face meeting.

Missed Call Syndrome - At the grassroots level, everybody is giving somebody a missed call in Dubai and not for the heck of it. Depending on the established hierarchy between the two parties, the person who is in a position to convey something important will give a "missed call" to the person who needs access to assistance or information.The onus is on the receiving party to call back. Not surprisingly, the perpetrators of a recent phone scam tasted spectacular success as they would simply give a "missed call" and the intended victim would immediately call back, thinking it had to be something important.

Parking Principle - Loath to pay a parking fee, a Dubai resident will ensure that he extracts the full worth of his hard-earned dirham by simply manufacturing additional work to spend the whole paid hour of parking time. Where there is a fil, there is a way. Salik Allergy - Most Dubai people will take a long detour simply to avoid going through the Salik toll gates, which debits Dh4 from their Salik account. That they end up spending more money on petrol is immaterial.

Have Button, Will Press - This caused quite a stir in the early days of the Metro's launch but is now under control. The good people of Dubai are used to pressing a button to disembark from a bus or to cross the road at a traffic junction.So naturally when people wanted to disembark from the Metro, they simply pressed the most visible button in sight without bothering to read the accompanying caption which read "Emergency Only". The driverless newly launched state-of-the-art train would groan and grind to a halt and the puzzled first time user would wonder what the fuss was all about.This practice was curbed by an RTA threat of a Dh2,000 fine. These and many such characteristics make living in Dubai a truly diversified and enriching experience. Viva la Dubai! Amitabh S, Dubai

In reference to Breath of fresh air for walkers (February 21), how is driving a new route right through the middle of established quiet residential areas going to make things better for walkers? Looks like the authorities are just implementing the car-is-king culture of North America even more closely. Instead of so many back streets with no traffic, there are going to be far more busy roads to cross and less quiet areas in which it is pleasant to walk. Perhaps they should visit Europe where through routes are removed to create areas where pedestrians and public transport are king.

Even in New York, Times Square has been partly turned into a pedestrian area. Extra roads only encourage car drivers and make things harder for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. Austin Optare, Abu Dhabi