Consumerism is a vicious cycle

A reader says lifestyle is all about spending quality time with loved ones. Other topics: male goat with udders, uniforms, DIFC

A reader says lifestyle is not about shopping, but about spending quality time with loved ones. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
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I completely agree with Justin Thomas that lifestyle is about spending quality time with loved ones ('Luxurious lifestyle' in the UAE really just empty consumerism? August 11).

Unfortunately, empty consumerism has overwhelmed our lives. It has been ingrained in our brain that driving expensive cars and carrying designer bags can buy us happiness. But it is like running on a treadmill. No matter how much we run, we are still standing in the same place. After spending on luxurious lifestyle, we still find ourselves at the same place, wanting to buy more. It is a vicious cycle.

I have recently started reading The Minimalists and it will take me a while to be one. At least, I am no longer trapped in that cycle.

Meenu Goenka, Duabi

Milk from a billy goat is not a ‘miracle’

I refer to the article Milk from a billy goat ... no kidding (August 20). There is no "miracle" here, but this is also not a rubbish claim. The goat in question may have a condition known as galactorrhoea. This is defined by production of milk when there is no baby to be fed, and can actually happen in human males as well.

The usual cause is a benign brain tumour known as a pituitary prolactinoma, which secretes the hormone prolactin in large amounts. Males have a small amount of residual breast tissue, which becomes stimulated when this hormone is secreted – normal males would not have significant secretion of this hormone.

I am surprised the vets did not recognise this condition. In humans, an MRI scan of the brain would clearly show a tumour if there is one.

There are other rare hormonal causes too, but it is by no means impossible for a male mammal to grow breast tissue (in this case udders) and secrete milk. It is, however, always an indication of disease in males.

Dr Shereen Habib, Abu Dhabi

Price uniforms more sensibly

Uniforms promote a sense of discipline, neatness and a feeling of belonging (A look at one of the big-ticket items on the back-to-school list – uniforms, August 21). What kind of materialistic example does that set? Coming to the point of monopoly, uniforms are ridiculously expensive. Surely they can be priced more sensibly.

Jayadevi Machaya Palekanda, US

Global funds look for secure zones

John Everington's report on DIFC fund domiciliation ('DIFC rules overhauled to attract more funds', August 20) highlights key changes to the administration to make it more attractive to international funds, and introduces a new class of funds altogether – the qualified investment fund.

In my interview-based research on the UAE’s financial services regulation for my Master’s, one chief reason that international funds may be still mulling over establishing a branch in the DIFC is that – while the free zone embodies international financial law and best practice – it is technically a different jurisdiction from the rest of the UAE.

This creates a discrepancy for such fund houses who would come to the UAE to pitch to the larger money – ie, sovereign wealth funds (SWF) and family offices. If you are domiciled in the DIFC, you cannot without a few exceptions offer your services outside the DIFC, since you would be operating outside the boundaries of your regulatory body. Since SWFs and family offices are elsewhere in the UAE, you will be breaching the jurisdictional boundaries in attempting to reach your target investors.

While in reality lots of business cross pollinates between companies inside and outside the DIFC, such a discrepancy – according to feedback received from lawyers and fund houses – is one reason why the fund houses’ risk-averse headquarters in London, New York or Switzerland may be cautious: they do not want to fall foul of the local jurisdictional laws in a technical sense, which already might be foreign to them in other aspects already.

BJ Roberts, Dubai