PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 August, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 August, 2004, 12:00am

Q Have you had a bad experience with a taxi driver?

Last Sunday, after taking an Airport Express train from the airport, I took a taxi from the station to home. Having left Hong Kong for almost two months, I had only a couple of $500 banknotes as well as a few coins.

The ride cost me about $30 and when I handed over a $500 banknote, the driver said loudly and angrily that I should not give a large banknote and should have prepared smaller ones instead. I became really upset when he said I used the large banknote intentionally so that in case he did not have change, I had an excuse to get a ride free. I managed to change smaller banknotes in a convenience store nearby and settled the payment.

No one should have such a bad attitude, and certainly not a driver talking to his customer. If it had been a foreign visitor encountering such a bad experience, they would have gained a very negative impression of our city. Taxi drivers should be more conscious of how their behaviour can affect the city's image.

Franco Pang, Kwai Chung

Q What should Hong Kong do to fight the effects of global warming?

Global warming must be solved quickly. Since the 1980s, the global average temperature has increased 1 degree Celsius. The greenhouse effect is the main problem. Factories give off too many greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, every year.

They trap heat from the sun in our atmosphere. Without these gases, the heat would escape back into space and Earth's average temperature would be about 10 degrees cooler.

We should face these problems immediately. By turning off lights, the television and the computer when you are finished, you can help a lot. In addition, we can save energy by taking the bus, riding a bike or walking more frequently instead of driving.

If we try, most of us can do our part to help the environment.

Johnny Leung, Tsueng Kwan O

Q Can you have an affair with a machine?

What's all this artificial intelligence nonsense? It's just another voyeuristic software program that someone wants to make money from. Why not read a long book instead? At least it's more educational.

Name and address supplied

Q How should the language policy be improved?

The language problem began after 1978, when every child was given a secondary school place, mostly in English-medium schools.

Thousands of new secondary students came from Chinese-medium primary schools where some of the teachers of English could barely understand English themselves. It was impossible for most of these new Form One students to listen all day to every subject taught in English. The children became bored, and some began to seek fun with triads.

When the Hong Kong government, over a decade ago, eventually realised the danger, it decided to change the language of instruction to the students' mother tongue, on a voluntary basis. The children began to enjoy their lessons and to do better, as well as behave better. However, most parents favoured English schools, believing they provided better career opportunities, and they objected when the Chinese medium became compulsory.

I would propose that teachers intending to teach English should be first-class honours graduates, and that after their teacher-training, they should be sent abroad for immersion in English-speaking schools for a year, with the incentive of a pay increment on return.

Meanwhile, lower-grade teachers of English should continue to take examinations to ensure they know the language they are teaching sufficiently well.

I agree with [education chief] Arthur Li Kwok-cheung that schools asking to use English as the medium of teaching must engage teachers proficient in English for all other subjects. It is useless to engage good teachers of English if the students hear other lessons taught in Chinese English (Chinglish).

Elsie Tu, Kwun Tong

On other matters ...

Do Hong Kong people like queuing? Thousands of people queued in the early morning rain on Sunday for a mere mahjong set. Some were elderly men and women. Others even brought along small children. Some queued for more than 10 hours. Many of them did not follow the rules. They jumped the queues and pushed each other.

This shows Hong Kong people do not like queuing. They love discounts and benefits. They do any crazy thing for a small benefit. Actually, there are other methods to distribute the crystal mahjong sets, but this was the most effective way for the related company to gain free promotion and publicity.

Tsui Wing Yue, Mongkok