Opinion 2016

Solar Impulse flight was a big achievement

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The touchdown of Solar Impulse 2 was a proud moment for Abu Dhabi, the UAE and the energy industry worldwide (Solar Impulse 2 lands in Abu Dhabi, completing first zero-fuel flight around the world, July 25).

Congratulations to Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg and the entire team for the success of this amazing journey of 40,000 kilometres without fuel.

The world has changed vastly since the beginning of this journey, in terms of energy outlook and utilisation.

Even if one takes a UAE-only perspective, there has been a lot of change. We have new ministries and departments to harmonise energy production and produce better outcomes. The UAE is setting a trend.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

On the news:

Solar Impulse 2 lands in Abu Dhabi completing first zero-fuel flight around the world

Letters to the Editor: The National Dt 27 July 2016 : Speed deterrent is not enough

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The move by Abu Dhabi Police to remove the discount will give more strength to reinforce the traffic safety plan drawn up by Abu Dhabi Municipality and the Urban Planning Council. It should also tend to reduce accidents and traffic deaths. The method of giving a discount on traffic fines, specially speeding fines was not welcomed by many as it lead way to remain relaxed even when fined!. A system that could be introduced to gain more control speeding dangers may be to have a fine system based on the model of cars, the costlier the cars, the higher the fines. It has become normal to see some of these costly cars being driven fast around and most of the time the drivers not wearing seat belts or following road rules.

On the news:

Mixed reactions as Abu Dhabi Police scrap discount on traffic fines

Motorbike riders require safety reminders – Letters to the editor – The National Dt 7th March 2016

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07-03-2016 - Motorbike riders require safety reminders - The National
I have noticed an increase in number of people violating safety rules, including but not limited to the non-use of helmets and poor maintenance of the vehicles.
I have seen delivery men riding without any respect for their own their safety let alone that of other road users. They often tailgate at high speed.
The authorities should contact the companies that employ motorcycle riders to ensure that these people get regular road-safety briefings.
Road safety should remain a priority for everyone.
Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi
To read it in original, visit The National online.

Connecting to the need of the hour – Gulf Today – Short Take Dt 20 February 2016

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Connecting to the need of the hour

I love travelling as it gives me an opportunity to meet people and discover places. Mostly my trips are to meet family and friends in India. Another opportunistic advantage I create is to cut down on time spent in the electronic media. I take my car out and travel to known and unknown places every day. Since I will be travelling, I have the option to connect and disconnect at will. Hence, I do click and share the places and events I come across with my parents and well wishers through social media. At the same time, I can judiciously dissociate myself from any unreasonably urgent tagged request for actions.

When I returned after such a trip and connected to wifi to see my message, I was surprised to see an important message requesting for assistance to find a speaker for the Martyrs’ Day event. The organisers wanted a UAE national to speak about his experiences of knowing or reading about Mahatma Gandhi and his priniciples.

Knowing the urgency and importance, I didn’t have a second thought to refer Sultan Al Hajji,  an established toastmaster,  administrator working in a reputed oil company and moreover a good humanitarian who speaks his mind out in a humorous way reaching the audience.

Back in Abu Dhabi and listening to him at the function addressing the audience at the packed Embassy of India auditorium, I realised, he knew more than what we know about Gandhiji and his values. The applause he received at the end of the speech and also by the congratulatory remarks from fellow speakers confirmed it.

We indeed need a world of non-violence and patience, and if possible filled with mirth and common sense.
Ramesh Menon

Spread the cheer – Gulf Today – Short Take Dt 09 January 2016

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Spread the cheer

It is my cultivated nature to keep smiling whatever situation I am in. The routine to office is almost the same pattern every day. Going down the building, I meet my watchman, then the car wash guy and then the municipality gardeners.

My day begins with a short conversation and hello to them and then off to my office in my car. May be as I travel daily at a particular time, I get to see familiar faces on the wheels in adjacent cars.

People rushing to office applying the last-minute touches to their tie or a final makeup touches by a woman lady driver, is almost regular to witness. At the parking in the office again, I meet the same faces, starting with the security staff at the basement and then at the entrance of the office, followed by the coffee boy. They reciprocate with a smile.

One day, I was really tense and somehow, I forgot the smile, all through my journey. At office too, I forgot to greet and smile. The day passed by somehow and by next morning, I had recouped and then carried the same smile and routine.

The coffee boy followed me and asked what happened the earlier day. “We get motivated by your smile and small wishes, but yesterday, it was not there and it affected us also.”

It was then I realised the value of that gesture. Knowingly or unknowingly, I was passing on something that was infectious to those whom I met and valued it.

Whatever be the financial or worldly situation around us, let there be no recession when it comes to spreading goodwill and a sweet smile.
Ramesh Menon

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online.

Education key to taxi congestion – Letters to the editor – The National Dt 07 January 2016

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Mushrif mall taxi

Taxis wait near Mushrif Mall entrance on Al Dhafra Street blocking the flow of traffic leading to the car park. Ravindranath K / The National

Education key to taxi congestion

Your news item, Packed Mushrif Mall taxi rank a headache for drivers (January 4), was a real eye-opener.

I also see this regularly in front of Abu Dhabi Mall but in my view, Mushrif Mall is better placed than the other malls in terms of parking options.

There are two reasons causing this problem at Mushrif Mall. One is the lack of training and education for taxi drivers to not block traffic.

Even if they know that there is no space for them, they will often still squeeze in, ending up either blocking other vehicles entering the mall parking area or even creating the dangerous situation of placing them in the path of the speeding vehicles on the road.

If the taxi companies won’t train their drivers, the mall authorities should have security staff controlling the area.

The second and most important point is the lack of patience by all drivers. When a vehicle – whether it is a taxi or a private car – is trying to park, the drivers behind express their impatience rather than giving them a little bit of time.

We need to develop a culture of patience and harmony.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

The National Dt 06 January 2016

Do not take selfies while crossing the road!

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Let’s be more careful on road

As the new year begins, it’s time for many to adopt resolutions. However, most people forget about them even before the first month of the year ends.

This time, let’s not forget one thing – to avoid using mobile phones while driving and even while crossing the road.

I recently witnessed a dangerous situation in which a man paused in the middle of a busy road to take a selfie.

I hope the authorities continuously remind people about the need to use the mobile phone in a responsible manner.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Letters to the editor – The National Dt 05 January 2016

Positive approach – Gulf Today – Short Take Dt 02 January 2016

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It was a period of no responsiveness from me since September. It was a trial. I have been active on community issues and always tried to express my opinion in my favour or against for the benefit of the community.

Whether it is in the UAE or in India, I never changed this outlook and kept an eye always on issues where I could contribute and create a better environment.

However, some actions and results associated with this committed interaction suddenly gave me an alarm bell and I thought I should try to disassociate myself.

It was a difficult effort and since September I kept a “no response” approach to everything. Whatever I see or hear will have no action from my side. I did it. Not even once did I react.

That was a trial period and is now over. Just to see whether I can stay away from the influence of the surroundings! Yes I did and I can.

Am I like that? No, I am not a person who has no commitment to the family and society.

Our actions speak volumes when we live in a society. So bring positive attitude and effect to all those who are around you. I pity those who try to shout at helpless subordinates for problems of their own! With their actions, they bring a ripple effect of emotions and actions to those who are affected by it.

It will not be positive and will have a detrimental effect on those who they interact with. I always suggest to my friends to become the ambassadors of positivity.

Ramesh Menon

To read it in original, please visit Gulf Today online