Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The right stuff

I had a very bad experience when I visited Beijing some years ago. You see, my friend used a public toilet. We were in a place where tourists go to. I just can't recall which one that was. Anyway, she exited the toilet looking choked and on the verge of spilling her guts outs. What was the reason for this? The toilet. It was damned  damned damned (pardon the word and the emphasis) smelly. It looked ok from the outside though. I may not have used the toilet myself, but I believed her 100% when I saw the 'pain' she was in.

So toilets, dirty, messy and stinking ones, are not the preserve of Singapore. Yes, we do have them, and in a First World country that we have become, now for more than 10 years, we are damned ashamed of it. Truth be told, there are probably well kept toilets for every dirty stinky ones. In fact there are probably more than a 1:1 ratio. I would hazard that for every stinking ones, there are probably 2 well maintained ones. If you lived in Singapore, like me, you might not agree. Perhaps I don't visit public toilets all that often nowadays, at least not those in our hawker centres. I'd use the ones in the shopping malls, which if you consider the prices that shops there charge for their merchandise, you sort of expect better treatment in their loos.

Now Singapore is considering building more hawkers centres that will not be parceled out to commercial operators such as Kopitiam and Koufu to operate. Hooray! Lower prices of food, but I hope that the toilets would be 21st century quality also. Or are our designers of our new generation hawkers centres going to retain this aspect of our dirty toilets, for nostalgia's sake? Nooo, social enterprises will be running these places, surely they are more socially conscious and will have a heart not to cause a person to retch upon existing that most essential of places?

But who know? There's nothing like nostalgia.

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