Hatty Pedder's painting captures diversity of Dubai

Anyone who has lived in the UAE for more than a day will recognise and warmly relate to these images.

Kristiane Backer, author of 'From MTV to Mecca' and convert to Islam, poses for a portrait at the Higher Council of Family Affairs, Sharjah, UAE on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010.
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The article Swimming in diversity (October 21) was illustrated by the Jumeirah Beach painting by the artist Hatty Pedder, currently on view at her Social Seen exhibition at the Mojo Gallery in Dubai. I've been to this exhibition and it is great. Anyone who has lived in the UAE for more than a day will recognise and warmly relate to these images. You'll find someone you think you've probably met in almost every picture, whether you like them or not.

The exhibition is well worth a visit, and maybe an investment. There's no better documentary of the growing pains of the UAE.

Gary Busby, Abu Dhabi

Reflections on marriage

Rym Ghazal's opinion article Why is marriage and love these days just a roll of the dice? (October 21) is a great piece, very well written and sadly true about the lifestyle of Arabian culture.

The verses of the poem she used for the homeless prince are my favourite. Actually it is only those four lines that I memorised from the whole lot of Majnoun's poems to Layla.

As to why men are romantic before marriage and then give up, it's because generally Arab culture is all about the hunting game.

Men take their sweet time and all the patience needed to get the prey. Once you get it and play with it, the game is over and there is new prey to hunt. The man takes no more interest in an old toy that the he has already exerted all his efforts in getting.

New toys seem brighter and the problem is that the toy offers all it has from day one and doesn't hold back, so there are no more surprises, which leads to routine and boredom.

The old toy doesn't generally dare to wander off or threaten to leave because it fears what society might say, so the hunter will always know that he has her in his hands all the time. Whereas in other cultures it's about how to keep the toy after getting it because the toy has the liberty to leave at any point. The prey knows its worth. The hunter's vanity and pride forces him to make the cage prettier each time to lure the prey to stay.

Leila Hatoum, Dubai


This is a great piece. The problem is that husbands can't see their wives being adventurous or enjoying their sexuality because it is threatening to them, and the women are too embarrassed to ask for what they want. It's a mess.

That's what happens when you segregate boys and girls: they grow up knowing nothing about each other.

DB, Lebanon

Inspiring profile of a Muslim convert

Haneen al Dajani's story about Kristiane Backer, My journey from MTV star to Muslim convert (October 20), was an excellent one and a breed apart.

It's very rare to get hold of such a personality who just happened to be passing by Sharjah and take such bold steps to profile her. It was a very inspiring piece. Keep it up.

Chand C, Abu Dhabi

Hope for shale drilling in Europe

In reference to the business article Challenges await in a volatile world (October 17), there is great hope for shale in Europe as being able to provide greater energy security and lessen the dependence on Russian sources of gas. Certainly there are challenges in respect to environmental concerns and whether shale gas, if found, will be commercially viable.

This will take time to evolve, though present drilling by Lane Energy/Conoco Phillips, and soon by the partnership in which the US company BNK Petroleum is participating, will go a long way in determining the future of shale gas in Europe.

Charles Ladd, Abu Dhabi

Counting cats correctly

In the article Cat lovers welcome countdown on strays (October 18), the chairwoman of Feline-Friends, a Dubai-based non-profit organisation for the welfare of cats, is quoted as saying: "A single female cat can be responsible for producing 20,000 to 25,000 offspring within five years." However, according to Wikipedia: "Females can have two to three litters per year, so may produce up to 150 kittens in their breeding span of around ten years."

That's 150 kittens in 10 years, not 20,000 in five years.

Markco Mancic, Dubai

Commonsense discipline

I refer to the news article 'No tolerance for family violence' (October 21). According to statistics, one in four women in the West has been reported to suffer from some sort of abuse. As for disciplining children, this is a part of a commonsense approach. We have in the UK a youth culture mob running amok with no respect for elders.

Dawud Burns, UK