Assistance needed for those driven to despair by debt

Readers comment on the plight of expatriates who find themselves in financial difficulty, and debate the future of BlackBerry mobile phones. Other topics: the new iPhone and warning labels for energy drinks.

 Readers debate the future of BlackBerry. Sarah Dea/The National
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I was alarmed to read Driven to despair by debt shame (October 31), about the high number of Indian expatriates taking their own lives in the UAE.

This is a cause for great concern.

It is sad that people suffering from depression or facing financial or personal issues resort to committing suicide instead of seeking help or counselling from their relatives, friends or other members of society.

It is a shame that we as a society cannot provide help or support to people who suffer silently until they can no longer endure the hardship.

Fatima Suhail, Dubai

Work-related issues, increasing living expenses and the demands of family are worrying factors for many expatriates.

This is not just among the low-income working community. Middle-income families are also facing the burden of debt, often leading to a stage where it becomes unmanageable within their regular income.

On these occasions, people run to money lenders – and that is where the real crisis starts.

Many expatriates’ expectations are beyond their means. They try to match their lives to those of the people next door, yet they also have to meet financial demands from their family back home.

The most worrying factor is the humiliation that these people can face in society. It is equally difficult for the family in the home country, as pledges may have been made against their property.

I think a lot more can be done to increase awareness about the dangers of debt and to help those who find themselves struggling.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman

There should be a coordinated action involving local authorities, the regulators who control lending and Indian community leaders to teach financial literacy to those people at risk.

I Jana, Germany

BlackBerry apps can’t compete

On your Facebook page, in reference to BlackBerry's once bountiful fortune at risk of shrivelling up (October 27), you ask: "Can BlackBerry survive? Are you staying loyal or have you switched?"

I think the company will not survive. It’s already too late because BlackBerry has allowed Samsung and the Android operating system to rule the mobile world.

The huge problem is BlackBerry’s lack of free applications. They can’t compete with Android and Apple’s iOS.

LK Mantawid, Philippines

I’m staying loyal, as I still have not found a better phone than my BlackBerry.

A Nova, Dubai

I am a loyal BlackBerry user and I will remain so.

Syed Azeem Amer, Dubai

More to chew on than a new Apple

I am writing in reference to Is the new Apple iPad a breath of fresh air? (October 28).

I think people should spend their money on better things than yet another Apple product.

Instead, it would be great to see an article saying that every one of us needs to plant a tree or save an animal, stop eating meat or start riding a bicycle.

Brigitte von Bulow, Abu Dhabi

Drinks don’t need to carry warnings

In Are energy drink labels necessary or a ‘nanny state’? (October 30), several of your letters writers discuss whether these drinks should carry warnings.

Not everything needs to have a warning.

People should be smart enough to know the risks, and parents should educate their children about energy drinks.

Wahid Al Riyami, Abu Dhabi

Halloween has no place in the UAE

I am writing about Scary way to have fun in the capital (October 31), about the celebration of Halloween in the UAE.

Yet again the religious and cultural heritage of the UAE is being eroded.

To some people Halloween is harmless fun.

However, when one examines the pagan and pseudo-Christian basis of this “bit of fun”, one can clearly see that it is anathema to Islam.

Aziz, Abu Dhabi