I mean public toilets. Not my house toilets. Toilets that are used by the public especially those in food centre, coffee shops, parks etc. Singapore has a first class economy. The WTO or World Toilet Organisation is headquartered here.Yet despite all these, we have 3rd world toilets. Okay maybe except for the zoo, bird park, airport and a few posh malls, the rest of the toilets here are craps (pun intended)!
Just go to any parks on a weekend and visit the toilets and you know what I mean. I was at Admiralty Park recently. This is a pretty new park. Yet the toilet which was next to a restaurant was a major stinkhole! The basins were so dirty. And let's not forget the toilets in the coffee shop and food courts! And I still shuddered when I recalled the time I walked into a shower cubicle at the then newly renovated toilet at MacRitchie Reservoir and saw a pile of shit on the floor!
So why is it that Singapore cannot get its toilet act together? If Japan, Korea, Hongkong can why not Singapore? Let me try and list down the reasons:
|Public toilet at Punggol Promenade|
1. The design of our public toilet. Firstly, those in open areas like park are not lit up in the day and the only light going into the toilet are from the small ventilation vents at the top of the wall. A bright airy toilet somehow will inspire people to take more care of it. Just like dark gloomy places attract cockroaches, damp dark gloomy toilet somehow cause people to not bother too much with the cleanliness .act like cockroaches. Just look at the toilets at the East Coast Park in the day time. They are so dark and gloomy! And the location of the hand dryer! Where are they found? Right on the other wall away from the basin. After washing the hand, you walk to the dryer and in the few steps you take, the water will have dripped all over the floor. The result, wet floor! And what is it with those fancy wash basins that are so shallow the water just splash off onto the floor. The basin at MacRitchie is a good example! Then there is the lack of a proper store room for the cleaner. So all the cleaning tools are dumped all over resulting in a very cluttered looking toilet which again doesn't inspire people to keep it clean.
2. The cleaning crew. Have anybody seen how the cleaners clean the toilet? Just take a hose and spray water over the whole place including the wall and toilet bowls. The result is everything is all totally soak and people who want to use the toilet ends up squatting on the bowl cause you don't know whether the liquid on top is pee or water! And wet floors meant footprint all over. Also, most cleaning company do not provide their workers with proper cleaning detergents. Most of them simply give a perfunctory scrub to the toilet bowls and the stains start building up faster than you can pee. The other problem is the lack of toilet paper so people who are too stingy to buy the minuscule paper from the vending machine ends up using all sort of paper including newspaper which ends up choking the toilet!
3. Finally the user. There are 3 main groups of people I blame for the state of our toilets
- The beer uncles. You know those old men who gather at coffeeshop and drink the whole night or even day long. These are the people who will spit everywhere, throw litter all over and never wash their hand after going to the toilet. And they are the main culprits for the newspaper in the toilet bowl and wet floor caused by their pee flying in all directions! They are the one who grew up in kampungs and the older buildings where the toilets facilities are not that great and their habits have continued into their old age. These uncles account for most of the dirty toilets in coffeeshops and food centres. I know these people all too well because my FIL is one of them!
- The pampered brats. These are like the beer uncles. Just much younger. People who have never had to do any housework or cleaning caused there is always the maid or parents to do it for them. These people think that there will always be somebody to do the little work for them so they do not flush the toilet, do not throw the tissue in the dustbin and generally leave a mess after using the toilet. They are the heck care and the can't be bothered! Somebody will clean up after them. These people are responsible for the filthy toilets at the fast food outlets, the parks and malls.
- Finally there is the hygiene freak! Yes people who are obsessed with cleanliness. Why do I say so? Cause they are so freaking clean and scare of germs that they will not touch the toilet flush so they do not flush the toilet. They will squat on the toilet bowl because God knows what is on the toilet seat. And they throw the used hand wipes on the floor because they dare not touch the dustbin cover. These people will even teach their children to pee and shit on the floor and not into the bowl because it is too dirty! I should know cos we used to have such a guy in the office and he would just leave the used tissue on the wash basin because the dustbin has a swing lid and he dare not touch it. He also wash his hands so vigorously that the water splashes all over creating a mess all over
Will we ever have clean public toilets in Singapore? Sure, just as long as we have a legion of foreign workers on standby 24/7 to clean up, like at the airport. Otherwise, hold your breathe, do it and don't leave a mess!