Community Service

Challenges are to be won over – meet Johny

Posted on Updated on

Challenges are to be won over – meet Johny, a Kerala state lottery ticket seller

I met him for the first time during my visit to my hometown Irinjalakuda in January. His cautious strides and pleasing smile to those who interacted with him attracted my attention. I thought let me speak to him and in the process get to know more about him.

He lost his vision at a young age due to measles. However, he didn’t subdue to the fate. He grew up and then took up the job of selling Kerala State Lottery tickets. A few kilometers away from Irinjalakuda down, he walks every day and visits most of its parts and sell the lottery tickets to his regular customers as well as new ones.
Identifying the Indian currency notes is not easy, especially with rumors of fake currencies in circulation. Added to it, the monetization program brought in some new currencies too.
However, that did not deter Johny (Johny chettan – brother) as all call him from identifying him. A few minutes with him during that time and the discussions I captured with my camera and presenting to you here shows how he identifies the different types of currency notes.
That was in January. Months passed and during my recent visit, while driving through the crowded marketplace of Irinjalakuda town, I saw him walking cautiously. It was raining too and the street was crowded with trucks and light motor vehicles bringing goods to the market.
I stopped my car and called him. He came to me and as soon as I talked to him, he realized me and even remembered my name.
This time too, I gave different notes and he issued the ticket and returned back exact change.
Rather than taking a trial of my luck to win a lottery, I felt satisfied by helping a person with special skills to survive in this world on his own. He is an example for all those who cry out saying that there is no work and beg for help.
Whenever possible, if you meet him or others like him, do not hesitate to offer a helping hand. Not free offer – take a ticket from him. You never know – it may be your winning chance!.

Keeping children safe

Posted on Updated on

24-04-2017 Gulf News - Keeping Children Safe

I feel it is advisable to have regulations for seat belts continue to be applied for all seats in the school buses that are on our roads (‘New drivers to get two-year licence, starting from July 1’, Gulf News, April 17). The advantage factors I find behind such an enforcement of safety regulation are many. First and foremost, at any given point in time, the student is safeguarded from impacts due to sudden braking.

Secondly, when it is normally enforced on a daily basis it will become an automatic habit, which will be carried on to their private travel with friends and family. They will be leading the way as ambassadors of road safety.

It may also reduce the driver distractions that happen often in the school buses where children run around or jump on the seats, ignoring the request of the supervisors and drivers. It may thus reduce the bullying that might be happening in some cases.

Safety education is something children should be reminded of every moment. It is because we tend to take some small points lightly, thinking that we know it or “it will not happen to me” that many accidents occur. So, why do we miss out on the opportunity of a road safety education opportunity for children? Teach them young and travel with them safely throughout!

From Mr Ramesh Menon

Abu Dhabi

Read more on the subject:

Draft seat belt law does not cover school buses

Seat belts on school buses should be made mandatory

 

Traffic fines at the airport

Posted on

Your report, Forcing UAE expats to pay traffic fines before travelling could ‘change behaviour’ (August 1), shed light on an important issue.

I hope the recently implemented removal of discounts to speeding fines and the new suggestion to make it mandatory to pay the fine before exiting the country will bring a fear factor in the minds of those who violate traffic rules.

Generally, those who pay up diligently have a fear for themselves and other road users and comply with the rules.

What is yet to be experienced as a result of these new moves are behavioural changes from those who seldom travel outside and do not pay up.

I sincerely wish that this group of reckless drivers becomes a minority on our roads. Safe road sense must prevail if we are going to have fewer traffic accidents and avoid unnecessary deaths.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Letters to the Editor/The National:

Forcing UAE expats to pay traffic fines before travelling could ‘change behaviour’

Fill it, Dig it, Forget it! – Kadugodi Whitefield Road that WORKS

Posted on Updated on

In an year how many times this small stretch of road at Kadugodi Whitefiled has been filled, digged again and then left like that! Pathetic! Even the tractor guys are finding it difficult to drive. So you can imagine how difficult it is for cars and two wheelers. The way the work for pipeline is being carried out at one point here, I feel, very soon, they will find oil here! No one can drive. Not to forget the speed at which the two wheelers ride on these roads. So, imagine the plight of those elderly or children who walk through this stretch to the Volvo Bus stand or Whitefield Railway station. Authorities – please open your eyes and do a neat job, once and for all.

IMG_20150924_090649 IMG_20150924_090700 IMG_20150924_090718 IMG_20150924_090721 IMG_20150924_090746 IMG_20150924_090759 IMG_20150924_090853 IMG_20150924_090954 IMG_20150924_091007 IMG_20150924_091034 IMG_20150924_091039 IMG_20150924_093922 IMG_20150924_093932 IMG_20150924_093943

Lower the height of signboards – Letters to the editor – The National Dt 22 June 2015T

Posted on Updated on

Lower the height of signboards – Letters to the editor – The National Dt 22 June 2015

Sign boards

The new Onwani system will make it easier for people to access every location in Abu Dhabi. What we have to do now is get used to this change.

However, I would like to point out that the signboards with the building numbers and QR codes have been placed too high. This makes it difficult for short people or those of average height to access them to scan the QR codes.

Lowering the height of these boards will enable everyone to make use of the QR facility.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, visit The National online

Strict safety norms should be enforced

Posted on Updated on

Strict safety norms should be enforced
Reader is concerned about workers ignoring safety measures when at construction sites.
Abu Dhabi
World Day for Safety and Health at Work is being celebrated tomorrow, April 28, and our highest priority should be oriented towards the principle of prevention of danger.
A look at some of the maintenance activities being carried out by the staff of some companies that work on the installation of advertisement stickers on high rise buildings within the capital made me write about this important safety issue. They use the suspended scaffolding to paste these stickers on the windows. However, observing them at close quarters I noticed that most of them were not wearing appropriate safety gear.
My fear aggravated when I noticed that a group of construction workers who were working on seven-storey building were carrying out their jobs without wearing any safety gear. This was alarming and there was no way I could reach out to them and inform them to adhere to safety measures.
These two observations highlight the need for stricter enforcement of safety norms. We do note that companies have strict safety guidelines in place for the welfare of their workforce. However, there is always an exception. Some companies even hire part-time workers, and it appears that safety is not a matter of priority for them and precautionary measures are sidelined. This is dangerous as even a minor miss may end up in loss of life or permanent injury to the worker involved.
Through this report, I request the concerned authorities to consider this matter and enforce stricter rules for workers who engage in jobs at high altitudes. The need for a standard acknowledgement and acceptance to conform to safety standards is essential when permits for such jobs to be carried out are issued.
Let ‘Safety First’ be on everyone’s mind at all time. Keep reminding each other and remembering with a strong inner sense the three key notes: ‘Safety for me, for you and for everyone’ as a mantra to achieve better safety results.
  
— The reader is an operations manager based in Abu Dhabi.
  

Be a community reporter. Tell us what is happening in your community. Send us your videos and pictures at readers@gulfnews.com

Safety rules are being breached

Posted on Updated on

Safety rules are being breached


I have seen workers in harnesses installing billboards or putting stickers on high-rises. But when I looked closely, I noticed that most of them did not have adequate safety gear. This has happened on more than two occasions.
Once, I was frightened for a group of men who were working on a seven-storey building without any protective gear whatsoever. I am sure that these are not stray cases. People will continue to flout the safety rules if such lapses are not reported.
At the same time, strict enforcement of rules is necessary.
It’s mostly smaller companies that ignore the rules as they engage contract or part-time workers. 
They need to be monitored all the time.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, please visit The National online.

Beware of date expired fruit juices and products being sold in Pampa and Sabarimala

Posted on Updated on

Dear devotees, consumers, 
I happened to notice that many date expired products are being sold in the small stalls on way to Sannidhanam, Sabarimala from Pampa. Please be careful and as far as possible avoid buying these products.
Necessary alerts and requests have been made to the authorities concerned. However, it is up to us to take care.
Swami Saranam.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
July 2013

Used Book Fair aims to encourage youth to read more

Posted on Updated on

Used Book Fair aims to encourage youth to read more


Fair promotes the vrtues of reading, volunteering and brings the community together
By Ramesh Menon, Gulf News reader
Published: 00:00 February 17, 2013

Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) is finalising preparations for the fifth Used Book Fair, which will be held from February 26 to March 1 at the Palm Garden by Khalid Lagoon. Books are currently being accepted from anyone who wishes to donate, provided the books are in good condition. One can donate books in any language, but magazines and textbooks will not be accepted.

Schools that donate less than 2,000 books will be allocated one booth and those that donate more than 2,000 will be allowed two. Participants will be given a certificate of achievement.

Students who donate more than 20 books will also receive a certificate.

The Used Book Fair is organised every two years and has a number of objectives, such as promoting the habit of reading by offering low-priced books, planting the spirit of volunteering in the minds of the youth and raising funds to support the services offered by SCHS to people with special needs. 

SCHS is a local non-profit organisation, which was founded in 1979 and aims to change society’s attitude towards people with special needs and effect policies regarding disability-related issues. It also aspires to pave the way to a brighter future for children with mental and physical challenges, giving them confidence and a chance to live in a society that provides equal opportunities.

During the four days of the fair, visitors will find books available for as little as Dh3.

The last day to donate books is February 24.

Anyone wishing to donate books can contact SCHS on 06-5669966, SCHS Collection Supervisor Mihraj Abdul Rahim on either 06-5671117 or 050-7965576 or drop them at SCHS premises in the Al Yarmouk area of Sharjah.

The reader is a technical officer based in Abu Dhabi. Be a community reporter. Tell us what is happening in your community. Send us your videos and pictures at readers@gulfnews.com 

 To read it in original, please visit GULF NEWS online

5th Used Book Fair – invitation to donate books

Posted on Updated on

Inviting you all to participate in this noble cause.

The organisers are looking for books in all languages. So, all departments can contribute. For example, malayalam, tamil, french or hindi books are also welcome. (No text books, magazines or periodicals please).

A student who contribute 20 books will get a certificate, more books contributed together will bring in more credit to the school. For your convenience, Attached flyer can be posted on your notice boards or website. Deadline to donate books – 20 February 2013.

In case you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.