x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Victory over Olympics cynicism

A reader became enthusiastic after going to London and seeing how much the crowds enjoyed the Games. Other letter topics: speed limits, fit versus fat, and hanging laundry out to dry.

A reader says the Old Trafford crowd enjoyed seeing Ismaeil Matar score at the Games. Michael Regan/Getty Images
A reader says the Old Trafford crowd enjoyed seeing Ismaeil Matar score at the Games. Michael Regan/Getty Images

I read with some disbelief about the fines to be imposed on Abu Dhabi residents who use their balconies to dry laundry (Dh1,000 fine for hanging laundry on your balcony, August 8).

While I'm sure attempts to "beautify" the city will be welcomed by all residents and visitors, it seems odd that the focus should be on laundry.

Why not focus instead on repairing the countless cracked pavements; or enforcing the fines for people who drop litter on the city's streets and in its parks; or improving refuse collection points to avoid the spilt, stinking rubbish that we have to navigate around?

All these things contribute to the city's appearance more than a few clothes racks far above eye level.

It doesn't seem fair that the authorities can dictate how residents use their personal space if it doesn't pose a health or safety risks to others.

Many people live in cramped conditions in this city; forcing them to dry their clothes inside not only adds to the internal humidity of the residence but reduces living space and increases environmental stress.

I also find it most surprising and disappointing that residents would be encouraged to use electric dryers given their well-known substantial energy consumption.

I thought the authorities were, correctly, trying to encourage us to use less energy, not more.

Sarah Bartlett, Abu Dhabi

Fire shows need for addresses

In reference to Fire kills mother and three girls (August 8), why, in this forward-looking country, do we still not have physical addresses?

It makes no sense and in cases such as this, it might save lives. Craig Harada, Abu Dhabi


Olympic Games cynicism cured

I read Andy Murray's win is far from grand (August 7), and I would have been inclined to agree with the writer, Chuck Culpepper, had I not actually gone to the Games.

The thrill children had watching football at Old Trafford made it worthwhile - and it wasn't just the Great Britain match. There was almost as much excitement when the UAE took the lead against Uruguay.

The same thing happened at the tennis venue: people who didn't usually get the chance to see top-level sport were loving it - and perhaps inspired to take it up, which is surely the whole point.

I know Culpepper was being tongue-in-cheek, but the idea that a sport needs to have its pinnacle at the Games to be included is slightly problematic, too.

It would mean cycling couldn't be included because the Tour De France is bigger; and the marathon would be ditched because of the New York and London marathons.

I've stopped being cynical. I now think the more sport the merrier. Ben East, Abu Dhabi


Put safety first with speed limits

I was almost moved to write to The National about the usual variety of bad driving I witnessed on my way into town.

Then I read Speed limit 'buffer' abolished (August 7). Good news at last; the sign that says 60, 80 or 100 kph will mean just that.

On the motorways however, the 120 kph limit will still be confused because of signs that say 140 kph or the unwritten knowledge that the real limit is 160.

Roll on the day that all such limits are exactly what the sign says.

The balance between enjoying fast driving and putting people's lives at risk has to be weighted in favour of safety.

Susan Falconer, Abu Dhabi

World must act to aid Syrian people

Our thoughts are with the Syrian people but where are the international tanks to rescue them (As Aleppo burns, her friends are left to watch and wait, August 8)?

This is a disaster that should not be happening.

Peter Cooper, Dubai

Fit bodies come in a range of sizes

I am writing in reference to Shape up or lose your job, overweight PE teachers told (August 7).

As a psychotherapist and health promotion expert, I am aghast at the notion that fitness could be measured by fatness or BMI.

This is a dated and false notion that has been debunked by a great deal of research documenting that fatter people who are fit have fewer health risks than many thinner people who are not fit.

Confusing fitness and fatness is harmful, and it certainly sends the wrong message to children.

Kathy Kater, US

Using BMI categories as a proxy for fitness is not scientific. Fit and capable bodies come in all sizes - witness the range of body sizes and weights at the Olympics.

Deb Burgard, US