Sir - You don't realise just how bad most English people's manners have declined until you travel a long way from these shores - no, a lot further than France.

The French actually make us look better than we deserve. Try somewhere like Taiwan. Very patient people, especially if you smile and feebly attempt a stab at the language. They recognise that speaking one language, while writing in a Chinese dialect, can be very confusing for the average Westerner.

However, I now understand why we have always been told that Taiwan is not a holiday destination and is only an industrial place of no interest to the average holidaymaker. Don't believe a word of it. Taipei, the capital, in the north, with loads of nightlife, building 101, etc., quieter east coast with stunning views, steep mountainous gorges with roads tunnelled through the rock to great visual effect and sub-tropical south coast with great beaches.

I suspect this is deliberately hidden from the West because the Taiwanese do not want their way of life screwed up by Western ignorance, vast cross-country transportation processes, etc., resulting in poor quality food, the easier spread of diseases eg foot-and-mouth, cultural degradation - and the resultant bad manners, of course.

Michael Heavey, Old Marston