A little sympathy
Recently, I had an unusual experience when travelling by bus to my university. A boy with a severe mental disability boarded the bus. He seemed to be in a habit of forgetting names, of people he dealt with on a regular basis, owing to his medical condition. Moreover, he did not care about fashion and hence dressed very plainly. Although society is expected to embrace people with disabilities, I witnessed the contrary. When the boy asked an acquaintance to repeat his name for him, he was met with harsh jeers and humiliated by his so-called friends. The purpose of education is to instill good values and compassion for others. With the numerous things people are able to achieve in this day and age, why is it so difficult to show a little sympathy?
From Ms Nithya Raghavan
Abu Dhabi

Please stop
I request Gulf News readers not to write letters regarding rent and traffic, as I do not think any of the concerned authorities have the time to read them, let alone take action. Please do not waste your time and energy, as I do not think any problem is going to be sorted out. Authorities do not even bother responding by taking the relevant measures, especially with regards to issues of traffic between Dubai and Sharjah. I would like to thank Gulf News for doing a great job and giving a voice to readers' concerns.
From Mr Aamitabh Sharma

Visible distress
A short while ago, we went out with some friends for a weekend dinner and I witnessed the impact of the global financial crisis on our daily lives. The first sign was the non-existent traffic between Karama and Bur Dubai. Just six months ago, it was the sole reason we stopped going out on Thursday nights. Next, we noticed that the restaurant was almost empty, when previously; we would have to wait for at least an hour before being seated. While returning, we observed that eateries that used to stay open late were closed even before midnight. Residents have lost a lot of money and it is beginning to show.
From Mr Vikas Kakwani

Always late
The timings for the RTA bus services have become a critical issue in Dubai. Usually a large number of people wait at bus stops for at least 30 to 45 minutes and due to the delay in buses, there is usually a long queue. Dubai Festival City is one of the areas most affected by this issue. It is extremely difficult to find a bus in the morning or evening. I suggest that the authorities install cameras to monitor bus stops in order to be aware of the delay in the arrival of buses and take effective steps to solve the issue.
From Mr Mohammad M. Ahmad

The management of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) replies: RTA is progressively improving the services with the arrival of new buses. We hope there will be a vast improvement in service quality by mid-2009.

Learn a lesson
It is indeed sad that the authorities have to waste their time monitoring the roads because of reckless drivers ("Aggressive motorists issued spot fines", Gulf News, November 11). I hope the spot fines serve as a lesson to errant motorists. Emphasis should also be placed on maintaining minimum speed, especially in the slower lanes.
From Ms Jenny Michaels

Saving lives
I think it is about time the authorities fined reckless drivers. Spot fines would make UAE a better and safer place for motorists. I have been in Dubai for a few months and have seen more accidents than anywhere else.
From Ms Corrine

Special care
I know of many young boys who have dropped out of schools ("Study finds male pupils floundering", Gulf News, November 8). This situation occurs due to the inability of school counsellors to manage troubled teenagers. It is a sad reflection of the state of schools. Counsellors must deal with such children in a more patient manner as they need special attention and guidance.
From Ms Umm Ahmad
Ras Al Khaimah

Incomplete dreams
I do not know anyone living in the Naif area, but faced a similar situation with regard to accommodation ("Safe and affordable workers' accommodation needs to be provided", Gulf News, November 10). I was given a week to evacuate my home in Al Mankhool area, as the electricity and water would be cut off after the duration. As a single parent, I found it very difficult to find alternative accommodation. I want my children to grow up in a safe, secure location and dream of making a home in Dubai. I urge the authorities to be lenient toward low-income expatriates, who are facing difficult times.
From Ms Flora Bangit

Perfect mix
The Abu Dhabi Municipality's initiative of introducing wireless internet connectivity in parks is wonderful ("Surf the internet for free while you smell the roses in Abu Dhabi", Gulf News, November 10). Now, people can have the pleasure of working on their laptops or surfing the internet while still outdoors. In such a free, relaxed atmosphere, they could work on their own time and have fun too.
From Mr Lokesh Shetty
Abu Dhabi

The great outdoors
In the past few years, Abu Dhabi has taken great efforts to improve the lifestyle of its residents. A free facility such as wireless internet connectivity in public parks is a great idea to encourage people to spend time outdoors. I hope Dubai would follow suit and not charge internet fees to the public, who are already paying a fee to enter parks.
From Mr Joel D'lima

Excellent idea
I believe the Abu Dhabi Municipality's move to set up internet connectivity in parks is an excellent idea. I would highly appreciate if other emirates introduced this initiative, too.
From Mr John Vadakkel

Time to kill
The move to introduce wireless internet in parks is simply excellent. Usually, I feel very bored when I take my children to the park. While they are busy playing, I have a lot of time to kill and frequently have nothing to do but worry about work that is waiting.
From Ms Hamriya Sameer
Abu Dhabi

Family ties
I hope the authorities in Dubai would offer wireless services in parks, too. People would visit parks more often, due to this facility. They would bring along their children and continue working on their laptops. Such initiatives would help in strengthening family ties.
From Mr Sudip Chatterjee

The Yemeni child bride certainly deserves the title bestowed upon her ("Yemeni child bride, Condoleezza Rice Glamour's 'women of the year'", Gulf News, November 11). It must have taken so much courage for her to stand up for her rights.
From Ms Shirly Briones

Get rid of racism
Can somebody help me understand why we still keep addressing individuals as a ‘black' president, a ‘black' singer, or a ‘black' film producer (“New icon of an age beyond race'', Gulf News, November 10)? We are in the 21st century and I wonder if it is necessary to address individuals by their race. Even when the Oscar awards were announced and the winner's details were published in the newspapers and announced through radio and television channels, the word ‘black' was still used. I strongly feel that we should make a global effort to stop the practice of addressing individuals by their skin colour. I invite like-minded Gulf News readers to please join me in this pledge.
From Mr U. S. Bolan

Change and caution
Barack Obama's campaign headlines, with words such as ‘change' and ‘caution' united American voters. Although the word ‘change' initially intimidated voters, the entire world stood for Obama, as they expected a change in foreign policy from the world's largest superpower. However, the word ‘caution' has negated the effect of change. It is like multiplying 1000 with 0 — the result would ultimately be 0. Basically, caution would prove that — whether it is Obama or John McCain — American presidents are allowed to open only the allotted chapters of America and the rest of the world.
From Ms Shereen Kottikkal
Abu Dhabi

Extend registration
I appreciate Gulf News's report on national ID cards, as it explained the difficulties people face when filling the application form online (“Emirates ID website woes continue,'' Gulf News, November 7). Additionally, I encountered the problems mentioned in the report when registering and was very stressed. When I finally managed to get the form, the next obstacle I faced was making an appointment. I spent almost a day trying to get an appointment, but the call centre informed me that I would only be able to book an appointment next month. However, I am pretty sure I would not be able to follow through in December, as there would be a huge number of applicants. Perhaps many will be fined. Thus, the deadline to register should be extended.
From Mr Murat Coban
Abu Dhabi

Residents, who are trying to fill forms online and book an appointment, are finding the process frustrating and pathetic (“Emirates ID website woes continue,'' Gulf News, November 7). I think the authorities should be considerate with providing deadlines, as the registration system is still not in place. Do the authorities expect applicants to take leave from their workplaces and stand in long queues? Moreover, females and children who do not attend school are a common sight in such registration centres. It would be better if the authorities make it a part of the visa renewal process.
From Mr Aurobind Padiyath

Nowhere to park
I think the authorities are right in towing away vehicles that are parked on the pavement. By doing so, it gives pedestrians room to walk. The only way people learn from their mistakes is by paying a fine. I am one of them. I have paid for my mistake until I finally stopped repeating it. The only problem is — I have no idea where to park. It seems latecomers would always be penalised, because when they look for parking, they find that the pavement is the only place that is not occupied. I would like the authorities to give me alternatives. If there are no parking spaces available and I cannot park my car on the pavement, where should I do so?
From A Reader
Name withheld by request

Transport problems
In Dubai, it is impossible to get a taxi. Recently, at around 8am, I waited in Hor Al Anz for a taxi or a bus to go to the Al Ras area. It took almost half an hour for the bus to arrive. Prior to its arrival, I attempted to stop at least 12 taxis on the road, and persuaded the drivers to take me to my destination. However, some taxi drivers told me that they do not want to go to the Al Ras area, while others did not stop at all.
From Mr S. M. Ahmad

Stop smoking
I applaud the initiatives of the authorities in Dubai, to ban smoking at shopping malls and other public places. However, it would be welcome if they stopped patrons from smoking at the entrance of shopping malls too. Although our experience inside the mall is pleasant, we frequently have to walk through a fog of smoke at the doors, which could be quite disgusting. I wonder if this practice could be stopped.
From Mr Sanjeev Agarwala

I believe Harbhajan Singh called Andrew Symonds a monkey, for which he should have been punished (“Ponting rakes up ‘Monkeygate' controversy again'', Gulf News, November 11). Singh is a troublemaker who doesn't seem to learn from his mistakes at all. Although he knew the truth, Sachin Tendulkar subsequently tried to defend him, which was wrong on his part. It is common knowledge that the Australian cricket team simply cannot digest what they have been dishing out to all their opponents for all these years. The moment one starts beating Australia in anything, they start complaining. I would urge them to please grow up and concentrate on the game.
From Mr Sunil Daswaney

Change subject
I refer to the report on Indian cricketer Sourav Ganguly's retirement (“A never-say-die spirit walks into the sunset,'' Gulf News, November 10). I have great regard for Ganguly and his achievements. But I hope Gulf News's reporters would continue writing about other sportsmen as well.
From Mr Sundip
Full name withheld by request