Use it - lose it

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 September, 1999, 12:00am

Thea White's letter (South China Morning Post, September 4) struck a chord with me.

I have pretty much given up going to Bangkok cinemas, just as I did when I lived on the mainland and in Macau, because of mobile phones ringing throughout the film. In the 14 years since I first came to Asia, only once have I seen anyone take action against an offender, when a policeman asked a cinema patron several times to end a loud mobile-phone conversation, then arrested him when he continued to ignore the request. I have seen ushers ask people to turn off their phones, only to be ignored, after which the ushers took an understandable 'what-else-can-I-do?' attitude.

Ms White suggests a fine. In addition, the person fined for allowing his/her phone to ring, should have the phone confiscated, with no compensation. Further, that individual should be banned from buying another mobile phone for a set period of time. Perhaps there could be a sliding scale including longer ban periods for repeat offenders.

I am a teacher, and have found it extremely effective to confiscate phones and pagers. I make my students sign a statement that I have informed them they will instantly have their telephones and/or pagers confiscated should those devices ring during class. It works wonders, particularly when phones cost a lot of money, enough to make even the wealthy pause and reflect upon losing the device for the foolish reason of disrespect to one's fellow patrons/students and others.

KURT T. FRANCIS Bangkok, Thailand