We should all embrace the UAE’s diversity

Readers discuss the challenge of learning Arabic. Other topics: UK crime, the bus system and business class travel

Readers discuss the challenges of learning Arabic in the UAE. Pawan Singh / The National
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With regards to your opinion piece, The UK sees Arabic as key. The UAE should as well (July 20), seven out of 10 expats in the UAE have little or no knowledge about the heritage, culture and tradition of the UAE. The reason is that we are a bit too reserved and have anxiety about interacting with Emiratis or other nationalities.

This is sad. We are blessed to have people from various countries living around us. Dubai, for example, is one of the best cities in the world for someone to learn about and, more importantly, interact with people from many cultures.

But it requires time, patience and initiative for someone to open up to learning about a new culture. Teachers should motivate their students to read, write and speak Arabic, not for the sake of regurgitating it on an exam sheet and then forgetting it, but because it will help them at both a personal and professional level.

A pleasant greeting every morning in Arabic – “Salam allaikum” or “Marhaba” – is a great way to start the day and remind ourselves of where we live. Start with a simple greeting in the morning and embrace diversity.

Matthew Litty, Dubai

More people should be taught Arabic. But Arabic script is very difficult. Perhaps some schools could teach Arabic written in Roman letters so that non-Arabs can understand it better.

Bulelwa Nqabeni, South Africa

When I was living in the UAE, I used to learn Arabic in my free time. However, I got frustrated not being able to use it regularly since most of the people I had contact with in daily life were foreigners who didn't speak Arabic.

Full immersion in a language is the best way to learn how to speak fluently. Sadly, I was never able to do that while in the UAE.

Omar Jaramillo, Berlin

Bus system needs clarity

I read your editorial, The simple logic of bus shelters (July 20), with great interest. I have never used a bus here but I can see that in Al Ain there are no bus shelters with air conditioning.

It is not right to have people wait in the sun when the temperatures are at their summer peak. We need to think more about those people who need public transport.

Mariyah Fatoom, Al Ain

If there were clear and concise route maps and timetables, more people would use the bus system.

I have no idea where the buses run to and from, especially in the city. More direct routes would also be helpful.

I have taken the bus a few times and it takes for ever to get to the destination, as the buses seem to go round and round and stop at every stop.

We need air-conditioned bus shelters as they are a deal breaker.

Jane Rae, Abu Dhabi

Don’t cancel trips to the UK

Concerning your report, Crimes against GCC nationals in London rises 30%, investigation shows (July 20), we need to remain realistic and not spread fear in the media and among each other. We also shouldn't create more divisions between nations, cultures and religions.

Crime rates around the world are soaring because of the growing division between rich and poor.

In countries where there is a major gulf between rich and poor, crime can grow but this is nothing new. We should not sound the alarm bells just yet.

Brigitte von Bulow, Dubai

Children aren’t the problem

I was dismayed by your report, Emirates A380 800 business class review: Pleasurable except for unruly children (July 20). My daughter just turned 12.

In all the years we've been flying back and forth to Canada she's never, not once, inconvenienced another passenger, and neither has my 17-year-old son who started flying at six months old.

This comes down to parenting. To ban all under children under 12 from flying business class is just not right.

Lynsay Critchley, Dubai

I would gladly pay a premium for a child-flight free. Yes, many children can be well-behaved and absolutely adorable. It is those whose parents let them run roughshod who should take flights separate to those of us who travel on business or who prefer the calm of a flight without children.

Elan Fabbri, Dubai

It would be flat-out discrimination to ban families with children from travelling in business or first class.

Carmen Jreissati, Abu Dhabi