Readers discuss how long taxi drivers should have to drive each day. Srijita Chattopadhyay / The National
Readers discuss how long taxi drivers should have to drive each day. Srijita Chattopadhyay / The National

Taxi drivers’ pay should allow for safe conditions



With regard to your story, Abu Dhabi cabbies' long hours to make their target (April 2), I was in a taxi the other day and the driver was closing his eyes at every available opportunity – while at traffic lights and waiting at a roundabout.

He was nodding off as he was driving and I had to talk to him to keep him awake. This was at 10.30 am. I really felt for him, but this is so dangerous.

Their pay and targets need to be improved so that this doesn’t happen. These drivers work so hard and we would literally be nowhere without them.

Elaine Hoe, Al Ain

I think taxis are too expensive in the UAE. Given that cars are cheap, petrol should be even cheaper, particularly at the moment and the drivers are poorly skilled.

When I use taxis in places like New York City, I am happy to pay for good service.

In the UAE, they are getting paid as much as they agreed to get paid. It’s a free market, after all.

Guglielmo Molteni, Abu Dhabi

Some correspondents who say taxis are expensive in the UAE should try travelling a similar distance in Europe, where you would need to take out a mortgage to pay the fare.

In my view, it is always worth tipping these guys for their knowledge and smart appearance, let alone because they’re paid low salaries.

Steve Manser, Qatar

Former banker is a role model

I refer to your story, Former Emirati banker breaks the mould, puts his health first (April 4). If others are looking down on him because they perceive he is in a service industry, that is a ridiculous way of thinking.

You don’t get this sort of attitude in other countries. Not everyone wants to be a banker.

Elham Al-Marzouqi McMillan, Dubai

Fahad Al Hammadi, you have my respect. It takes courage and a lot of self confidence to do what you have done and that in itself will take you places other people only dream of.

Jayadevi Palekanda, Abu Dhabi

Congratulations for rising above societal pressure and for being humble and hard working.

Ultimately what makes one person fit for one job and another fit for another? It’s definitely not social status.

Sadaf Vahedna, Dubai

I say good for him. If you do what you enjoy, the rest will come. His health is his blessing.

Patricia Daly-Fisher, Al Ain

Women deserve support at work

Your editorial, India's positive tokenism (April 2), reflects a promising trend towards empowering women and bringing them into leadership positions in industry.

Even though more women are taking high-profile jobs, bringing them into boardrooms makes a real difference.

In the real world, it is a fact that women’s work culture has been shifting away from traditional roles. This needs to be encouraged.

Realising women’s calibre is itself a shift from the past. If they have the talent to lead people in the workplace, it is vital to render them honest assistance so that they can reach their potential.

Ramachandran Nair, Oman

SUV spoof not all that amusing

I appreciate satire and enjoy a joke as much as the next guy but I question the deliberate dissemination of disinformation in your April Fools' Day news story, UAE to ban SUVs by early 2016.

I doubt very much that everyone realised that it was a spoof – humour is, after all, culturally determined – and it would have gone over many people’s heads.

If this story adversely affected sales of SUVs in the country, I hope the newspaper will be held responsible. Let’s see who’s laughing then.

Anthony Solloway, Al Ain

We would greatly appreciate this change. People who drive very polluting cars don’t seem to realise the adverse effects to their own health, much less what it must be doing to that of others.

Has the constant absorption of pollution dimmed their mental faculties. I would rather live a better life than ride a foot higher.

Azeem Akbar, Dubai

What about Israel’s nuclear bombs?

Sir Richard Dalton, the former British ambassador to Iran, has said that Israel’s nuclear arsenal should be inspected now that Iran’s nuclear programme is under scrutiny.

As Netanyahu tries to impose his will upon the P5+1, will no one rid us of this undeclared nuclear arsenal?

Anthony Bellchambers, UK

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'Young girls thinking of big ideas'

Words come easy for aspiring writer Afra Al Muhairb. The business side of books, on the other hand, is entirely foreign to the 16-year-old Emirati. So, she followed her father’s advice and enroled in the Abu Dhabi Education Council’s summer entrepreneurship course at Abu Dhabi University hoping to pick up a few new skills.

“Most of us have this dream of opening a business,” said Afra, referring to her peers are “young girls thinking of big ideas.”

In the three-week class, pupils are challenged to come up with a business and develop an operational and marketing plan to support their idea. But, the learning goes far beyond sales and branding, said teacher Sonia Elhaj.

“It’s not only about starting up a business, it’s all the meta skills that goes with it -- building self confidence, communication,” said Ms Elhaj. “It’s a way to coach them and to harness ideas and to allow them to be creative. They are really hungry to do this and be heard. They are so happy to be actually doing something, to be engaged in creating something new, not only sitting and listening and getting new information and new knowledge. Now they are applying that knowledge.”

Afra’s team decided to focus their business idea on a restaurant modelled after the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Each level would have a different international cuisine and all the meat would be halal. The pupils thought of this after discussing a common problem they face when travelling abroad.

“Sometimes we find the struggle of finding halal food, so we just eat fish and cheese, so it’s hard for us to spend 20 days with fish and cheese,” said Afra. “So we made this tower so every person who comes – from Africa, from America – they will find the right food to eat.”

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