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Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Natalie Long Ed­i­tor nlong@gulfnews.com

Ide­spair of the mod­ern world fairly reg­u­larly, even as I take planes to won­der­ful places and wax lyri­cal about the best air­ports for a long lay­over (Schiphol, you rocked my week­end). Log on, and you may find you­self stuck be­tween peo­ple shoot­ing each other in the hopes of get­ting so­cial me­dia fol­low­ing (at one ex­treme), or su­percheesy mar­ket­ing con­tent that is not only awk­wardly pro­duced, but re­in­forces out­dated stereo­types.

Head out into the real world, and you’re buy­ing a cake and some cheese bis­cuits and are asked for your per­sonal data. True story – hey Schiphol, why do you need to know my na­tion­al­ity in or­der for me to buy some gouda? Of course I made the staff aware of my dis­plea­sure. But it’s the same in our shop­ping malls: I’m buy­ing a plant pot, an eye­shadow or a hoodie, and am asked for my phone num­ber.

Well, read­ers, it looks like the UAE’s shop­pers might have had enough. They’ve spo­ken up about this silli­ness – and some­one’s ac­tu­ally lis­tened. A press re­lease landed in my in­box that ap­peared to ac­tu­ally share in­for­ma­tion about how real peo­ple feel, rather than news about a new brunch. 41 per cent of the re­spon­dents in a sur­vey about shar­ing per­sonal data with brands in the UAE said they don’t trust brands with their in­for­ma­tion (caveat: the sur­vey was done by a loy­alty mar­ket­ing agency, and the in­for­ma­tion was col­lected last year). Over 70 per cent said the didn’t get any­thing out of shar­ing their in­for­ma­tion with brands. Re­ally? That half a dozen SMSs we get about epic club nights and even more sav­ings ev­ery Thurs­day af­ter­noon doesn’t con­trib­ute to your over­all well-be­ing? Shocker. Let’s see if the shops lis­ten.

I hope that gave you a laugh, but if it didn’t, try and have a gig­gle re­gard­less: Laugh­ing can ap­par­ently make you fit­ter and health­ier – even if it’s a bit of a fake laugh. Read all about that in our story on laugh­ter yoga on page 22. Then it’s time to pull more funny faces over your morn­ing cof­fee with our guide to face yoga on page 40 – a lit­tle bit of gurn­ing can take years off, pro­po­nents say. At least it should give the fam­ily a laugh.

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