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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Cars and Cats

Opening up the latest issue of Al Ain Times, I am happy to say that the improvements continue. I was particularly pleased that they covered the issue of those reckless and downright dangerous road pests, the fast-lane-full-beamers. You know the ones, they come up right behind you in the fast lane (and sometimes the middle and slow lane) and flash their headlights at full beam so you can't see a damn thing behind you. Well, it turns out some moron decided to do that on Thursday night as he was driving through the Diwan underpass and it all went horribly wrong.

Reading on to page 6, there's an article about the inhumane treatment of cats that's going on in Al Ain. I've always been an ardent animal activist in a land where animals are often treated like vermin or as toys which can be tortured and killed for a few moments of pleasure. I've written on this blog about the disgusting state of pet shops here, the lack of care of animals on sale that most of the time shouldn't even be in the country in the first place. Well done, Al Ain Times for highlighting this issue. BUT...

Why were these crucial 'public issue' pieces only published in the English section???!!!

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Blogger Someone in Al Ain said...

Thank you so much for posting this kind of articles..

Well for me only..i don't think that lots of arab people will be interested about the cats or pets in general. it will not pay attentions as it will do for the western..

Now for me. I've been always reading Al Ain Times newspaper. and i think its getting better..( if you compared with the first issue)..lol

Well for me there is a very interesting article on the arabic section and i was shocked that i couldn't see it in the english..
On the Arabic section page 5 , they wrote about al borgoa ( the mask that the local women put it for hide their faces)..they wrote almost everything about it..why the wear it , how , what colors , when , etc etc.. , Now why they think that the westerns will not be interested on that , while most of the locals here understand and know everything about it...

They must be more realistic and they must know what is the good place to post articles..

Someone in al ain

4/23/2007 09:21:00 pm  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

Hi Someone,

Don't you think that Al Ain Times' Arabic readers should be made aware of the cruel treatment of animals that is going on in this city? Maybe they don't care because they simply don't know. Education is the key to stopping animal abuse.

I do agree with you that the article about local women's dress should've been in the English section too. After all , Al Ain Times should be a place where we can learn from each other.

I have BIG issues with Al Ain Times' editorial policy. It has two voices saying different things and it is helping widen the divide between non Arabic and Arabic speakers. In fact, this disgusts me. The English section is often flippant and trivial while the Arabic section contains some 'hard news'. The editor appears to be extremely naive about the newspaper's readership.

4/23/2007 10:34:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm that rare creature, a Western expat who is fluent and literate in Arabic. I agree 100% with what Al Ain Taxi says, and "Someone in Al Ain". This "two voices" phenomenon is pernicious, and insulting. The Al Ain Times chose to announce in Arabic only the recent 25% pay rise for Emirati UAEU faculty; not a dickiebird in English, just like the expats' non-pay-rise. AAT occasionally runs, in Arabic only, "did you know" features, for example about the various tribes and clans of the UAE; again, nothing in English -- are English-languages readers really disinterested in such things. In so far as AAT carries "hard news", it's mostly in Arabic. I can remember at least one cartoon "Wiswasat ash-shayTan", "The Devil's Whispers", that I consider to be sexist, racist and insulting. Not that AAT's Arabic is that much to write home about: witness the numerous embarrassing typos. Sadly, the "two voices" phenomenon is not restricted to AAT: it appears again and again in official and University publications. When "hard news" does appear in English, the translations are often toe-curlingly embarrassing. Not all Westerners here are "Gulfie lifestyle" dingbats who learn one word of Arabic for every year they are here! LETS HAVE SOME HONESTY AND TRANSPARENCY FOR ONCE! and some genuine inter-cultural understanding.

4/23/2007 10:53:00 pm  
Blogger Someone in Al Ain said...

Thanks for your comment..

i agree with you..but look at the facts..for example the speed..people here drive so fast and crazy..the newspaper almost did everything to stop that or at least to decrease that..but nothing happen..

yes we should educate them so that they will understand everything..but some people wont do that at all..

someone in al ain

4/24/2007 02:08:00 pm  
Blogger Al Ain Taxi said...

Al Ain Times alone will not be able to change peoples attitudes to driving. It will take years of education and stricter laws for a general shift in attitude to happen.

This has happened in the UK. For example, back in the 60s and 70s it was considered not a bad thing to drink and drive. As long as you drove slowly it was your right to drive home from a party or the pub after you'd had a few drinks.Then in the late 70s/early 80s the UK government started a media campaign backed with stricter laws telling people how irresponsible and stupid drink driving is. Slowly, public attitudes changed and these days you'll find that most people don't do it.

The same with seat belts. Laws and a public media campaign has meant that most drivers in the UK use seat belts as a habit. In fact, when I get into a car I always reach over for a belt without even thinking.

Then there's speeding. My father received a 60 pound fine (450 dirhams) for going 5 mph (about 8 kph) over the limit. Can you imagine that happening here?

4/24/2007 03:35:00 pm  
Anonymous live@carrefour said...

I agree! How often do you see western expats cruising at 180kph in the downtown area or on the school road at 8 am? (Not that it couldn't happen, of course). But AAT isn't alone here ... all the papers do the same. It doesn't seem that any of the public interest stuff ever hits the right people. Kinda like the beach clean-up projects that gets a bunch of expats together to clean up the mess left by locals.

Just an extra quirk: I have to pay to go see my son in the House of Arts music performance today. Now, it's not that I can't afford the 25dhms. And it's not that I don't think donating the money to the disabled isn't a good thing. But guaranteed: all the people there donating money will be underpaid western expat teachers who only want to see their kids perform. Where are the locals who want to help their own disabled? I suppose their too busy bidding for that red number 43 license plate at the police auction ... pretty important stuff, that is.

Glad I could help.

5/18/2007 12:32:00 pm  

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