While we’re on the subject of bathrooms…

An amusing sign from the bathrooms at Lucky Plaza on Orchard, which also must be highlighted as the only bathroom that has charged me for entry (and has no real redeeming factors to justify that charge).

A picture of the dread squat toilet.  I’d say more than half of the malls (perhaps more, as I’m not making any sort of real effort to search for them) have at least one bathroom with a few squat toilet stalls.  Perhaps I’m just really really stupid, but the mechanics of how this works without making a mess or falling over escape me (please don’t explain it to me…I think ignorance might be bliss, here).

A strange (to me) anomaly here in Singapore. To flush the toilet you push a button on the top of the tank.  I’m not sure if I first saw this in the hotel or the service apartment, but it still feels weird almost 5 months later.  Elanor gets excited when she sees (to my mind) normally flushing toilets with the lever, because she loves to help.  The button doesn’t really help with the potty training as one of our planned incentives was letting her flush.  At any rate, it seems weird.

Also, Singpore–Can we talk about the bathrooms where there are no walls?  Singapore Zoo (among others) I’m looking at you.  I get that this allows for “natural” ventilation, but it freaks me out a bit.  I don’t have a picture, but try to imagine, if you can, a bank of regular toilet stalls.  Across from them are freestanding sinks with mirrors above them….and a wall of trees.  Not a wall, but a wall of flora.  It freaks me out every time I go there.  I thought I had a pic, but after spending a good 20 minutes going through every file labeled “zoo” (and there are many) I can’t find it, so you’ll have to take my word for it until I next visit, at which point, it will become a priority shot.

Finally, I have to say that this is a country with a strong anti-soft toilet paper bias.  Charmin is, I kid you not, over $20 but a set of 12 rolls (which is like double the cost of what we’d pay in the US, without a sale, even adjusting for the stronger dollar).  We’ve compromised by using Kleenex brand, which is about what we paid for Charmin back home, but you notice the difference.  I guess I should just be glad that I can take the existence of toilet paper in public bathrooms for granted, unlike in India, where forgetting the toilet paper might result in uncomfortable or messy results.

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9 Responses to While we’re on the subject of bathrooms…

  1. bookjunkie says:

    i didn’t realize toilet paper here was so expensive…..it’s interesting when you share the costs in the US.

    i loathe the squat toilets and i wish they would be eradicated.

    i also hate it when public toilets have super rough toilet paper.

  2. Jim says:

    If you ever do want to find out how to use a squat toilet, the Wikipedia page for “squat toilet” links to a couple of pages that explain how to do your business with such toilets.

    I’m slightly surprised that squat toilets seem to be fairly popular in Singapore, but I guess I shouldn’t be: those toilets are fairly common in Asia, or so I’m told.

    • Crystal says:

      I’m guessing the popularity has a lot to do with aging Asian population. I guess we all would like the go in the style that we learned. I can see how, to someone who doesn’t often use them, the Western toilet might seem unsanitary (especially for women as we sit)…but for me, it’s what’s comfortable.

      I’ll have to check those links out before I go to Cambodia, if I ever actually manage to pull off a trip to Angkor Wat, or to parts of Vietnam especially. On the other hand, making it through X years in Asia without using one would also seem like a giant victory.

  3. Dawn Perlner says:

    Soft toilet paper is usually made soft by being thick. That causes it to be harder to dissolve in water and thus more of a clogging-toilets hazard. In countries were the plumbing is more primitive, soft toilet paper is a no-no because it simply can’t be flushed. The alternative is to have a trash can next to the toilet and throw the toilet paper into it (I saw this in Brazil), but then you have to trust people to actually do that and not attempt to flush it.

    • Dawn Perlner says:

      Oops typo – meant where, not were.

    • Crystal says:

      The whole throw used toilet paper into a trash can seems….icky…to me, but I can see why it might be necessary.

      I think with Singapore it probably isn’t the age of the sewage system…SG is constantly ripping stuff up/down to build new things, so I have hard time imagining that the systems couldn’t handle it. However, we have to buy all our water, so it might be innapropriate/inefficient from the standpoint of flushing thicker toilet paper takes a much harder flow of water, which in turn requires a higher volume of water. But I’m totally just guessing.

  4. rose_coloured says:

    Most older women in South Korea will search out the squattie-potties (as we expats call them) over the seated variety. It is possible to use them and not make a mess or fall over, it’s just not very comfortable if you have indigestion or your period…

    And in South Korea you are not supposed to ever flush your paper down the toilet. It’s supposed to clog the works. It is standard to have a trash can inside every cubicle to put the paper in. Having said that, I lived in my apartment for 2 years and flushed paper down every day and never had a single clog.

    And it’s interesting that the flush as a button on the top is an oddity to you. In Australia it is normal, and the lever on the side is a novelty for me.

    • Crystal says:

      Yeah, that’s who I see actually go into those stalls when women my age and younger (and a bit older to my 31 years) all just wait for the next sit down toilet, even if a sqaut toilet is open.

      I’ve heard them called “squatty potties” too…which is great, but then it gets in my head like a sing-song rhyme, which is just messed up (excuse the pun).

      Re-flush button–apparently I never paid attention in Europe because I was told on facebook by another friend that they’re super common there. Or I was too busy noticing the lack of shower curtain to become preoccupied with the lever flush.

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