EXPERTS yesterday made a plea for help on behalf of the many people in Hong Kong who cannot find a mate. The way to do it, they said, is to teach more people the right way to go about asking someone out. About 100 men and women have already been taught the finer points of the dating game in a pioneering course run by the Hong Kong Christian Service's centre in Tsim Sha Tsui. And the course has not only proved the idea is workable, it has been named the outstanding social work programme of the year by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service. Most of the people who attend the classes are aged between 20 and 40 and have little or no experience of dating. 'The idea seemed strange at the beginning,' said social worker Mak Chun-sing. 'Could youth and children's centres offer classes on dat-ing? 'But we think this is also a kind of counselling. Many people feel uneasy and know little about social skills. 'Tsim Sha Tsui is a special district where many young adults are busy working and get no time for dating.' The three-month programmes comprise six lectures, plus group discussions and outdoor activities. Men and women join separate groups. The participants have to be willing to make mistakes in order to learn. 'The male participants, for instance, have to perform in front of a camera to show how they would invite our female teachers for dinner,' said social worker Yvonne Chak. 'Members of the group will then study the video and discuss how one can improve.' The Christian Service also won an award for the single-parent programme it runs at its Nam Shan centre. Other winners included the Hong Kong Scout Association's service for new immigrants, Tung Wah Group of Hospitals' programme to improve young people's self-esteem, and Boys' and Girls' Clubs Association of Hong Kong's service to help children control their tempers.