Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Philippine culture as seen through the nation's toilets

What by most standards is already a "squeaky clean" society apparently is not enough for a people who set high standards for themselves. The Singapore Government has set a goal to make their 30,000 public rest rooms even cleaner than clean. According to the Restroom Association (Singapore) (RAS), only 500 of these public toilet facilities were "up to its standards".

What are these standards that even antiseptic Singapore's toilet facilities struggle to meet?

The "basics" according to the RAS include "working facilities, lack of litter and odor, and the provision of basic amenities such as hand soap and toilet paper". Hmmm, by Filipino standards that is already a toilet fit for a coño kid (child of a descendant of a Spanish conquistardor). Given a top rating of five stars, in Singapore a "four-star toilet should have a diaper changing station or urinal for children and a five-star should have eco-friendly features such as water-saving taps".

Tough standards by any measure, but then...
"For us, toilet etiquette reflects Singaporeans' culture. It tells people how civilized we are," RAS President Tan Puay Hoon told reporters on Thursday, when the association unveiled its 70-page report on public restrooms as part of a campaign to improve island-wide toilet cleanliness.

I wonder then what that makes Filipinos given the sort of toilets we have grown accustomed to in our land? Indeed, the toilet habits of Filipinos are quite evident everywhere -- in our fouled up esteros (storm canals) and pungent alley walls.



Perhaps even before we take up lofty crusades against "corruption" and "injustice" we need to set our sights on a more visible challenge -- one that is far more telling of our character as a people.

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