x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Watchtowers are not so unusual

A reader notes that the structures neat Al Bidaya mosque are not Portuguese forts. Other letter topics: parking in Abu Dhabi, Eid indulgence and the ban on a child's toy.

A reader notes that the watchtowers near Al Bidaya mosque are not Portuguese forts. Pawan Singh / The National
A reader notes that the watchtowers near Al Bidaya mosque are not Portuguese forts. Pawan Singh / The National

In reference to Mawaqif coming to Central Market (August 7), I have a Mawaqif annual permit for a parking space in the block where I live.

I submitted a renewal request with the requisite documents for the same apartment using the same residence visa as the existing permit.

That was a month ago and Mawaqif has not issued the permit. When I inquired as to why, the answer was: "We are making investigations."

What is the investigation about and how long would it take? I got no answers, I was just told to wait for a call.

The call has not come and may not come, and it seems I will eventually have to resort to spending money on daily parking fees.

Mawaqif service is neither efficient nor user-friendly. There is still no siesta relief between 1pm and 4pm, making residents feel the focus is on generating revenue rather than providing service.

The management is not marketing-savvy, and therefore they are losing huge amounts in incremental revenue.

Many people are willing to pay twice the amount of an annual parking permit for two parking spaces, one where the person lives and the other where he or she works.

Additionally, huge numbers of people are requesting "park anywhere" permits, which cost three times the amount of a one-location parking permit - but Mawaqif takes its own time in responding.

F Khan, Abu Dhabi

Great opportunity for young Emirati

What a special experience Ghena Al Hanae has had at the Nasa Lunar Science Institute thanks to the Arab Youth Venture Foundation (Nasa stint out of this world, August 16).

The fact that she was able to work alongside the people who built the Mars Curiosity Rover and other groundbreaking engineering projects is a wonderful example of international cooperation.

In the long run, it is good news for the UAE, which will benefit from the knowledge she and others like her have gained and, I hope, will one day apply in their homeland.

Jane Rogers, Dubai

Watchtowers are not so unusual

I was amused to read in the article on the Al Bidaya mosque in Fujairah (Breaking the fast tied to tradition, August 16) that the two adjacent watchtowers - not forts - are supposed to be "Portuguese forts built in the 1800s".

Since the Portuguese lost all of their possessions in what is now the UAE in the early 17th century, and their last possessions in Arabia (in Oman) by around 1650, they are unlikely to have built any forts on the east coast over a century and a half later.

The watch towers are, of course, of typical local construction, found in almost every east coast village and in the adjacent mountains. The fort in Bidaya that does date to the period of Portuguese influence is several hundred metres away from the mosque, and only its foundations remain.

Peter Hellyer, Abu Dhabi

Eid not a time for overindulgence

I am writing in reference to End of fast is a time for caution (August 18). Sadly, most of us overeat during Ramadan let alone during Eid Al Fitr.

Gluttony is a disease of the heart. We have become enslaved to the demands of our stomach.

Many of the physical and social ailments that befall us as a people are directly related to our enslavement to this excessive indulgence.

This Eid, we should make a pledge to cut the junk, not eat until we're actually feeling hungry, stop eating before we feel full, eat slowly and chew a lot, and remain vigilant about our portions so we avoid wasting food.

How many will rise to this challenge? Yasemin Saib, Dubai

Surprised by ban on children's toy


I think the decision to withdraw Buckyballs from the market (Dubai bans sale of dangerous toy, August 17) is silly.

I can think of lots of things that would cause injury if swallowed.

What about marbles? Why single out this toy?

I think it, and any other toys like it, should have a warning sign stating this danger and then it's down to the parents to buy or not to buy such toys for their kids. Ziad Q, Abu Dhabi

My son bought one of those toys last year in the US, at one of the Smithsonian museums, I believe.

It's a great toy; there's so much you can do with it, and everyone who has seen it has asked where they can get one.

Isn't banning it a little ridiculous?

Did you know that US border officials seize Kinder Surprise eggs?

So, a toddler may live in a house with loaded guns, alcohol and pit bulls, but they're protected from the Kinder egg.

U Abdulah, Dubai