Monday, December 21, 2015

Malaysia has dirty public toilets. That's a fact.

Malaysia has dirty public toilets. That's a fact. 



Any number of clean one that you may have come across and would like to point out to rebut this fact are not big enough to make a percentage.

Why is this so? Aren't we a nation of civilized people, heading toward a developed country status in a few years? With a majority of Muslims who consider cleanliness a vital part of their faith? Weren't we all brought up with stress on cleanliness and it's importance to our well-being?

We complain that our toilets are dirty, more fitting to that of a third world slum (there are many third would countries with very clean and spotless toilets!) and condemn those who don't keep them clean.

So if everyone are keeping the toilets clean, who are actually making them filthy? Are there toilet trolls that go about splashing water everywhere, leaving excrement residue even up on the wall and stamping footprints on the toilet bowls? Do we have tiny bathroom demons pulling out taps and damaging the appliances, dumping sanitary pads and leaving unwrapped soiled diapers by the doors, pouring food down the sink (or was that vomit?) and leave the toilet unflushed?

Someone mentioned that teachers must teach students to use and clean toilet properly on a post over at Pisang Raja's, the one with a photo of a very clean toilet in a 'pasar malam' in Bangkok that inspired this rant. I think it's a brilliant idea. I think every school should implement this, like they do in Japan. This is one move MOE must implement immediately. Start each day of school with cleaning. Cleaning the class, the toilet and the school surrounding. And while we are at it, maybe get the teachers to join too, I was a teacher before, some of the staff toilets aren't exactly spick and span either. Keeping thing clean are our collective duty, not just for the janitor or cleaner. We clean up after ourselves, they'll make sure the place is in order.

For clean toilets (and keeping other public amenities clean and undamaged ) to become a culture, the value must be instilled at a young age, and this must be done by mandatory practice. Beginning in pre school and continued through out schooling period if needed. By the look of the state of things now, I'd assume quite a number of us do not instill 'keep public amenities as clean and well kept as our own home', just check out those who drive big expensive cars that stop on roadside to unload their cars off garbage, and those who throw rubbish out of moving vehicles?

As long our personal and private space is clean, we don't care about our citizen or neighborly duty. There's always someone to blame if things aren't the way it should be. The janitors not doing their job, the government not making things better by fixing top of the line amenities, broken thing not repaired quickly enough, and easiest of it all, the others who don't keep them toilets clean! But never us! We always keep all the public toilets we use as clean as the one in our homes, don't we?

How do we make parents receptive to this idea? If only they will not attack the school, MOE and the government for making their precious children learn about cleanliness properly which is through practice. How many parents will allow their children clean toilets and not say "no child of mine should be cleaning toilet, it's demeaning and definitely not their duty to do so, it's a job for the maid/migrant workers/someone else". These children will in turn grow up not knowing how to clean up after themselves let alone keep public amenities clean, their mantra 'cleaning up and keeping things clean is not my duty, it's someone else's', and the vicious circle continues.

Oh by the way, decorating toilets does not make it clean. So spare the dust collecting artificial flowers, frilly curtains and festive color paints, we need clean toilets, not 'pelamins', even though both are referred to as 'thrones'. 

So, if we start this effort today, making it mandatory for children to learn how to clean up after themselves, making sure they know how to keep toilet clean and more importantly how to 'aim properly, and if you miss you clean up until it's spotless', perhaps in a generation time we will begin to have cleaner public toilet. Something that we won't feel icky using and no longer be ashamed of anymore

Will we adults let our children learn how to clean toilet? Will we clean up after ourselves too, even when there's no one looking? Will we take pride in keeping our toilets clean? Perhaps if our children learn this in school, they'll some how put some shame into us into practising it as a part of our daily lives too.

So where do we begin?

IT BEGINS WITH US. NOW!
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