Vietnam's culture shines out

A reader claims that a travel columnist showed ignorance in being unimpressed with cultural sites in Vietnam. Other letter topics: equality, greed, US military spending, labourers' buses, and online vigilantes.
In reference to a Travel article about Vietnam, a reader comments on the cultural complexity of cities like Hoi An (above), where lunar celebrations are adorned with colourful lanterns. Effie-Michelle Metallidis for The National
In reference to a Travel article about Vietnam, a reader comments on the cultural complexity of cities like Hoi An (above), where lunar celebrations are adorned with colourful lanterns. Effie-Michelle Metallidis for The National

Your story Legal warning over 'name and shame' sites (Aug 7) raises some very interesting issues.

There is a kind of vigilante feeling about anonymous accusers blaming someone, for all the world to see on the web, of some offence against good customer service or courtesy.

And vigilante justice is usually not justice at all.

It's too easy for anyone to use such a forum to pursue, unjustly, a personal grievance. But those sites exist, in many countries, because people are frustrated with the terrible level of service in many establishments, with bad drivers who go unpunished, and so on.

The law is the law, but I wish there was some way to really name and shame those who most deserve it.

Ronald Holmes, Dubai

Regional support vital for protesters

I am very pleased that the Gulf Cooperation Council has spoken up about the systematic killing in Syria (Gulf states call for end to Syrian bloodshed, Aug 7).

The headline on your editorial (Arab pressure will make a difference, Aug 7) is exactly right, which makes this GCC statement important.

The remaining question is how Arab pressure will make a difference: by emboldening the protesters, or by making Bashar Al Assad and his thugs flee the country before the people begin to fight back?

Name withheld by request

Consider cultural significance

I refer to the Travel story A few experiments with the truth in Hoi An, Vietnam (Aug 6).

I am glad the writer had a memorable trip to Vietnam overall. I want to make one point about the white lies about Hue that she mentioned. People should not take the names literally. They have their own cultural meaning, and so could be interesting to some but not to others.

The same goes for "My Son", it may lack in striking visual grandeur, but culturally and historically it is very significant indeed.

Xuan Vinh Doan, Canada

Inequality will forever persist

In Equality a phrase but not a fact (Aug 7) a letter writer yesterday noted the incongruity of reports about great wealth and great poverty in the world.

But every society has always had gaps between rich and poor, and always will. Even if we redistributed all of the world's money into perfectly equally heaps for each person, some would pay others to carry their shares for them, and inequality would start again.

All anyone can do is try to help the desperate.

Eugene Knight, Dubai

Greed sound for economics

I get a laugh out of those who condemn "greed" such as the person who wrote the letter Global crisis needs some global solutions (Aug 7). Greed is not a corporate attribute, it is a universal human one.

And the desire for profit is what creates jobs and wealth.

It's particularly funny when somebody denounces greed in the context of demanding more money for himself and his group, class or profession.

Robert Becker, US

US should cut military aid

It is imperative that the United States adopts a fiscal policy that will keep its sovereign debt within acceptable limits, not only for America but also for global economic stability. (China demands US tighten fiscal belt, Aug 7).

One area of cutback needs to be foreign aid, particularly the aid that is used for military and political purposes, as opposed to humanitarian relief.

In this context, the $3 billion that is given to Israel each year should be immediately scrapped.

There may beother questionable payments of such magnitude, but it is unlikely.


Air-conditioning for labour buses

During Ramadan, one may notice a bus full of labourers at 12.45pm returning to their camp after a very hard day of work.

A lot of the workers are Muslims and fasting. One notices that the bus is not equipped with any air-conditioning. Even the electric fans are not functioning due to their poor quality.

It looks as if they were in an oven. They are dehydrating and must feel very thirsty while fasting.

Was air-conditioning invented only for the rich and famous? We are all fasting, rich and poor.

Companies should arrange buses with air-conditioning. Why is the Ministry of Labour silent about this matter?

MA, Dubai

Published: August 8, 2011 04:00 AM


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