19 May, 2011

Are toilet signages redundant?

I was thinking of doing a fun opening for this post on the signages seen in toilets, many of which are considered weird, funny, and redundant but after finding the banner below (you'll see it later), I changed my mind.

Maybe I should use a more serious tone for this topic. Toilet hygiene is no joke.

Well, I'm sure all of us realise the importance of toilets/washrooms, without which we would be in "big trouble", particularly when we're all living in the cities. (I'm not indicating that in the rural areas toilets aren't that important, but hey, at least there are bushes or jungles that one can run to to answer the nature's call. It's much better than having nowhere to go, right?)

For me, I'm very very particular of toilet cleanliness. If I could wait until I get home, then I would wait until I get home! As we all know, public toilets are usually unpleasant and dirty.

Anyway, I know of a lot of friends who ridicule the signages found in local toilets (in Kuching and other places in Malaysia). I heard comments like "Look, they even teach us how to pass urine, as if we're only born yesterday!" Alright, let's look at two common signages found in Kuching public toilets.

You must have seen this one...

... teaching you how to correctly do your 'business'.
Or this one...

... an almost step-by-step guide on how to use the toilet properly -- again, as if we were from the most remote and rural places in the jungle and have never seen or use a seated toilet before!

Ridiculous signs, right? As if we toilet users are so stupid that we need guidelines on how to do our 'business'. But the ultimate truth is... there ARE people who don't know how to use the toilets properly!!

Let me share my experience when visiting my best pal who's working in a church. While waiting for her to have lunch together, suddenly I had an urge. I grabbed the toilet paper (ohh, what would have become of me if there was no toilet paper!), rushed to the toilet (it's the church's public toilet), banged the door shut, opened my pants (I know, too much detail, but anyways...), put the toilet seat in place... and to my horror, I found some yellowish stain and brown colour shoe prints on it. Groaning in pain and trying my best to hold on, I QUICKLY poured water over the seat and wiped it dry and clean before finally resting myself on it.

If you haven't experienced anything like this, then put yourselves in my shoes. You would understand how annoying it is to see users who are so inconsiderate and not civic-minded. Subsequently, the next users become the victims.

Look, people. Even though these public/shared toilets are not owned solely by you alone, you are still RESPONSIBLE to ensure its cleanliness because YOU are also one of the users. And PLEASE... I beg you... DON'T EVER let the next person clean up YOUR mess!! It only shows that you're an inconsiderate and VERY selfish person!! (Consider yourself lucky you've never met me. Otherwise, I'll make sure you suffer the same ordeal you've caused the other toilet users!)

Well, if you do not want to be held responsible, then that's perfectly fine. Just wait till you go home and use your OWN toilet! Oh... please don't even go to the planted shrubs, your urine definitely isn't perfume (you'd cause air pollution!), and you could even kill the shrubs / plants (too much ammonia can cause poisoning, you know?)!

The toilet / washroom / restroom is provided for our comfort, and I think each of us should be thankful for these basic amenities and take good care of them.

Okay, back to the signs.

Mark McGinley, a Texan,  found the toilet signs to be useful when he was in Malaysia. If a westerner found it useful, then don't you think we Malaysians (or Kuchingnites) should shut up and start taking up our responsibility to keep the toilets clean at all times, rather than making so much unnecessary comments on the signs?

If the toilet isn't a place of importance, then there wouldn't be a World Toilet Day. Let's read it again. It's WORLD-Toilet-Day. Not Malaysian Toilet Day, or Kuching Toilet Day. Enough said, I hope?

Kudos to the Sibu Toilet Council, who even held a Toilet Cleanliness Seminar last year. This shows that the Local Council is concerned.

But isn't it an irony... we are now living in a world with great advancement in Science and Technology, and yet when it comes to basic cleanliness, most people choose to be ignorant.

Perhaps it is time we give other people a thought (if you have never been thoughtful), and help to make the world a better place to live in. There's enough misery in the world, so please don't add more to it!

Design | Elque 2007