We must assimilate into the culture we live in

A reader says we must try to understand the people and culture of the country we live in. Other letter topics include: budgeting, language, problem-solving, Germany

A reader says people need to know and imbibe the culture of the country they live in. Nicole Hill / The National
Powered by automated translation

I couldn't agree more with the views Peter Hellyer expressed in the opinion article Expatriates in a bubble can export wrong image of the UAE (Aug7).

I'm originally from the UK but Abu Dhabi has been home for me for the past seven years - and I mean "home". During this time I have been consistently shocked by attitudes of many fellow expatriates who do indeed live - and seem to want to live - in a "bubble" that bears no relation to its surroundings.

I feel I have gained much more richness from my life here so far, whether through taking Arabic lessons, exploring the natural heritage, learning about Islam or getting to know Emiratis, some of whom I now consider to be close friends.

As a result, I also seem to be happier and more settled than many people I know. One shouldn't "tar everyone with the same brush" of course, but it does seem to be a big missed opportunity not to get closer to an unique and interesting culture, as well as being insulting to the people whose country it is.

In the UK nowadays we criticise immigrants who make no attempt to assimilate into the culture; what's the difference? Eid Mubarak to all.

Sarah Bartlett, Abu Dhabi

Budgeting has long-term benefit

I refer to Nima Abu Wardeh's article in the Money section, Live long and prosper … but do build savings too (Aug 3).

When I became a vegetarian 10 years ago, by coincidence, I did not think about the impact my decision would have on my budget.

The benefits become clear over time: lower health costs, better quality of life and through lower expenditure at the supermarket.

In addition, most vegetarian meals at restaurants usually cost less than non-vegetarian meals. I agree with the author that such calculations will not reap benefits within a short time, but the benefits can be felt in the years ahead.

Unfortunately, this sounds old-fashioned to many people. As Nick Leeson aka Ewan McGregor in the movie Rogue Trader says: "Long-term is tomorrow morning."

Gérard Al Fil, Dubai

Issues persist over language

The opinion article Hostility between Iranians and Arabs betrays history (Aug 6) reminded me of an incident. I was in Egypt, during the Iran-Iraq war, and I was wearing a name tag written in Arabic. I have a "p" in my last name, so I used the Farsi "peh." People corrected me, and told me not to use the Farsi "peh," but the Arabic "baa."

Tim Upham, UK

Problems need to be solved better

I found the headline of the article Five ways to tackle financial stress (July 25) in the Money section to be misleading. Even though the writer has mentioned five points, they are quite silly. Who doesn't understand that when you are stressed by an issue, financial or something else, you need not panic, identify the stressors, recognise your reaction, try to find ways to avoid challenges or get help?

It's not proper to suggest someone to seek psychological help if that person is unable to solve his or her financial worries. The author says, "the key is to think outside the box?" Really? Can you force someone to think outside the box?

On the contrary, if a person is capable of thinking outside the box, he is likely to find a solution on his own. In that case he would neither need to do all those things that the article suggests, nor would he need to seek psychological help. I am disappointed.

Gloria Accion, US

Germany should shed its dark past

It is telling to find out that even a generation after the horrors of the Second World War, a German chancellor actually considered deporting his country's largest ethnic minority (British National Archives releases classified government documents, Augt 2).

It is equally intriguing to know that the revelations that Chancellor Helmut Kohl planned on deporting his country's Turkish community have not led to one single word of regret, not one single expression of condemnation from his country, its government, people or civic society.

It is a sad fact that even today German society is infested with racism, a reality Mr Kohl's secret plans for German Turks makes abundantly clear.

Germany should seriously try to move on from its ugly past.

Suhail Shafi, Abu Dhabi