Your article, Taken at walking pace, Abu Dhabi becomes a very different city (February 23), has prompted nostalgic memories of earlier days in Abu Dhabi.
There were limited taxis and buses so most people used to walk to work and back home. This provided the opportunity to see the city progressing and also led to more sun exposure. I believe there were fewer cases of vitamin D deficiency then than there are now.
Back in those days, the electronic gadgets of the modern era did not exist so people lived in the present more. It meant it was easier to meet people, possibly starting long friendships.
Now people are so distracted that I feel concerned when I see them ignoring their own safety by walking or crossing the road while using mobile phones.
I believe The National’s #startwalking campaign will be a great success, but it is also important for the authorities to ensure the streets and pathways are more user-friendly for pedestrians.
The famous Qasr Al Hosn Festival 2015 is happening in Abu Dhabi now. The event has a deep-rooted history connected with the country and in particular Abu Dhabi.
It was my honour to be associated with it as the festival had a special section to recreate and present the Lest We Forget: Structures of Memory in the UAE exhibited at the famous Venice Architectural Biennale.
The national pavilion of the UAE was the exact replica of what was exhibited and my exhibits on one of the architectural marvels that existed in Abu Dhabi from 1984 – 2004: the Volcano Fountain were present in it.
On one of the days, I was invited to a presentation and an interactive workshop on it to share my memories and exhibits.
It was a working day and I was keen to be there early and awaited my audience. The crowd started coming in small numbers. As we started interacting, an elderly national and his children came to attend. He was not comfortable following the English presentation and a lady volunteer helped him with the translation.
As he blended with the subject, there came a chest of knowledge treasure from him. He was in the army for a long time and told us about those days when there was absolutely no modern facilities. The then Ruler late Sheikh Zayed is said to have drawn plans with his sticks on the sand and corrected the architects whenever things were not done as per his plans.
By the end of the session, it was one of the most memorable interactions we ever had on the subject in the recent times. We were excited to listen to the way he carried his memories and conveyed to us as well as his children and grandchildren who were with him.
We all wished and enlivened the day when the new Volcano Fountain will come into existence in the new developments happening in Abu Dhabi.
Gulf Today – Short Take – Dt 21 February 2015
To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online
The death of Lucy Monro once again highlights the fact that road safety should be our utmost priority (Tributes pour in for British cyclist killed on UAE tour, February 16).
Not long ago, cyclist Roy Nasr died in a similar accident. All this points to the need for an increased road-safety awareness. Drivers need to be particularly cautious when there are cyclists on the road.
Those riding cycles should make sure they put on their protective gear before hitting the road.
Recently I saw a cycling enthusiast riding without a helmet and reflective jacket. Let’s try to avoid making such mistakes.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi To read it in original, visit The National online
Dubai: Those who pick up bad road habits seldom consider the consequences of their actions which may lead to severe road hazards.
Though texting while driving, among other bad road habits, has become as frequent as using car indicators, the action remains unjustifiable.
Gulf News reveals some bad experiences of UAE residents on the road, including their reaction to some of the incidents they encountered.
Colonel Jamal Al Bannai, Acting Director of Dubai Traffic Police, said that Dubai Police urge people to follow traffic rules and regulations. “People should not underestimate those violations, even if they think it’s minor, because they can lead to traffic jams and accidents.”
He added that people put their lives and the lives of others at risk by committing these offences, because they are not fully aware of the dangers of what they are doing.
Dubai Police, Al Bannai said, do not go easy on offenders and issue them fines.
RAMESH MENON, INDIAN, 46, BASED IN ABU DHABI
“Speed thrill and impatience are two of the worst driving habits I’ve witnessed on the roads in the UAE. When it’s winter and foggy, early morning hours on highways are dangerous due to poor visibility. Poor visibility added with impatience of some drivers becomes one of the main reasons for accidents during this time. But, fog is not always the case. Two recent instances still haunt my memory and were caused by speeding. One day, a speeding car ignored the warning signs on the road and ended up colliding with the roadwork barriers on the highway. The car later caught fire. In another incident, a young man on a motorbike was speeding and weaving through the traffic that was halting due to an accident. He was driving so fast that he couldn’t brake. He ended up hitting another vehicle ahead. Both situations could have been averted had they been patient on the road.”