Opinion 2012

Parents urged not to drive with children on their laps

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Parents urged not to drive with children on their laps – My Letters – Gulf News Dt 31.01.2012

Dubai: Traffic officials have warned parents against driving with infants on their laps, as they are risking their child’s life by doing so, engineer Maitha Obaid Bin Udai, CEO of the Traffic and Roads Agency at the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said yesterday.
As many as 13 infants were injured in traffic accidents last year, but the number has dropped considerably as compared to the year before.
Two fatalities
According to traffic accident statistics of 2011, a 35 per cent drop in the number of infants (between the age of 0 to 2) injured in accidents was recorded.

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While 20 infants were injured in traffic accidents in 2010, the number dropped to 13 in 2011, she said. Two infant fatalities were recorded in 2010 as well as in 2011.
RTA credited the drop in injuries to a Child Safety Programme, launched at Latifa Hospital and Dubai Hospital in 2009. Over 1,000 mothers are members of the programme.
  • 13: infants were hurt in road accidents in 2011
  • 20: infants were injured the previous year
My comments as follows:
Added15:33 January 31, 2012

This is a common scenario. I get to see and keep a controlled silence, because, I wonder, what they think about their own safety, their child’s safety, others who are in the car, and on the road at the same time with them. I really do not know. Women are not exemption. Last week, while driving on Shaikh Zayed Road, I watched with awe a woman, with a fully tinted four wheel drive speeding with her child on her lap (between the door and the seat) and even more, talking on the phone. God, save us, and reach us back home safe, that is the only prayer, I have, when I drive each time from Abu Dhabi to Dubai and back.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
To read it in original, please visit GULF NEWS Online

Plastic money – Short Take – Gulf Today dt 27.01.2012

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Plastic money

I had a good friend, who was not responding to my calls for a long time. Earlier, we used to talk daily on all matters. I was able to reach him finally and he talked to me for a few minutes.

He said everything was OK with him, but the tone and reply did not sound so. I wish him well.

Another friend of mine was also missing from regular contacts. I was worried about him, and last week I met him at a function.

He hugged me and apologised for not keeping in touch. I asked him where he was all this time. He replied, “I am a free man now.”

I got more anxious and asked him what happened!

He continued, “I have closed all my credit cards. They were killing me day and night. Somehow, I sold off whatever I could and closed them. Now, I have peace of mind.”

I could feel it from the expression on his face.

Yes, he’s one who could come out of the clutches of plastic money that has destroyed several lives.

I wish others too manage to follow in his footsteps.
Ramesh Menon

To read it in original, please visit GULF TODAY Online.

A safety culture is critical – Gulf News Community Report – Dt 24.01.2012

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A safety culture is critical – Gulf News Community Report – Dt 24.01.2012

Image Credit: Ramesh Menon/Gulf News Reader
The reader advocates mandatory safety procedures, equipment and dress codes for maintenance and cleaning crews whose work constantly requires them to challenge vertical limits

A safety culture is critical

Firms undertaking dangerous jobs have a duty to their workers, and so do the authorities
I see that many old buildings in Abu Dhabi city are being painted these days. While this beautification campaign should be appreciated, I have noticed that some safety elements are being ignored in the process.
Most of the maintenance teams use poor quality suspended cradles and the painters are not properly harnessed and do not wear safety helmets. Even if they do have helmets, they often keep them aside as they probably feel the helmet-shaped plastic caps may not be much help in case of an accident.
Through this community report, I request the supervisors of companies undertaking such jobs to take appropriate measures for the safety of the workers.
I also urge the authorities to implement mandatory safety procedures, equipment and dress codes for all involved in such high-risk jobs. Let us be proactive and think of safety 24/7, rather than acting after an incident happens. 


— The reader is a technical officer, based in Abu Dhabi

To read it in original, please visit, GULF NEWS online.

Children shouldn’t use passers by for target practice – My Letters – The National Dt. 15.01.2012

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Children shouldn’t use passers by for target practice – My Letters – The National Dt. 15.01.2012

One day recently I noticed a group of children playing football in the empty space between two buildings in Tourist Club area.
There is a transformer there, and they use the wall of it as their goal.
While on my walk, I noticed them practising their shots by shooting at some labourers sitting nearby.
First I thought these were accidents but as I watched I realised they were also pinpointing passers-by at random and at will. Some of the people were hit quite hard.
I continued my walk but, returning, had forgotten this business and became their victim myself. It was painful.
The area has two public parks plus play areas, and these children should be controlled. Could the authorities take appropriate measures?
Children deserve opportunities to play but they should not be developing sadistic skills.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, please visit The National online.

Broken Link – Short Take – Gulf Today Dt. 14.01.2012

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Broken Link – Short Take – Gulf Today Dt. 14.01.2012

I have been a regular contributor to this column, but I was forced to take a short break from Short Take due to unavoidable circumstances.

What made me look at the stark realities of communication channels is a vacuum created in my life due to the death of a close relative. I am sure, several of you have experienced it. When someone departs from this world without any warning, a link is broken.

There are several things that we closely communicate with that person, which the moment after, we find no one to refer to. It is a difficult situation indeed and, of course, it will change over a period of time, but with the changes associated and with missing personal touches of that special someone in your life.

Ramesh Menon
To read it in original, please visit GULF TODAY online.