There is an uncouth practice among patrons of coffee shops and eateries that has been accepted as part of our culture.
This is the practice of leaving behind a mess of food waste and tissue paper on the table, and not pushing the chairs back in.
It is a very unsightly scene.
When my family eats out, we place rejected food, such as chicken skin, fish bones or prawn shells, on the side of the plate or bowl.
My mother tells us off if we leave even a few grains of rice on the table.
If a tray-return point is not available, I would clean the table myself and place the tray neatly in the centre of the table.
As a teacher, I know that schools teach students courtesy, social graciousness and table manners, and it is practised in the school canteens. However, this will cease to exist if parents and family do not reinforce it or set a bad example for their children.
I hope the authorities can launch a "Gracious Table Etiquette" campaign to make it part of our culture.
Lawrence Chu Tuck Fai