Footprints on the toilet seats?

December 19, 2006

It’s getting kind of predictable. Some country wants to start attracting tourists, so what does it do? It cleans up the public toilets, I gues the idea is that you can forget about mountain vistas cathedrals, great art, exotic cuisine – what tourists really want is clean toilets.

Malaysia, a beautiful country with much to offer, is the latest to do this, unveiling high-tech public toilets ahead of a major tourism drive.

One Norwegian tourist in Malaysia said, “They can be very messy because people don’t seem to know how to use the toilets. You find black spots, footprints on the toilet seats, and there’s water everywhere.”

Footprints on the toilet seats? How does that happen? Maybe this clean-up isn’t such a bad idea. Here’s the story: toilet.jpg

Pedestrians look at a high-tech public toilet after its launch in downtown Kuala Lumpur December 19, 2006. REUTERS/Bazuki Muhammad


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I encountered the “footprints on the seat” scenario when I was in Iraq with the US Army. Iraqis (and Malaysians, apparently) aren’t accustomed to sitting, and so squat with their feet firmly planted on the seat.

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

Actually, for the Arab/Indian/Asian population WE westerners must be a bit gross: They do squat (over a “hole in the ground), and they wash instead of using toilet paper. That’s easier if you squat. Forcing them to climb toilet seats makes life difficult for them. Hence the “water everywhere”. They think that we are barbarians to sit and only use paper to clean ourselves.

Posted by Christa | Report as abusive

While I understand that most “Westerners” think of the practice of squatting on the toilet to lie somewhere between repulsive and hysterically funny, it is a fact that millions of people in the world were, in fact, toilet trained by their parents to do so. Further, not only is it a habit for these folks, it happens to be the only posture from which they can perform that essential bodily function, due to decades of “training”. I would propose that we attempt to be a bit more tolerant of others and take opportunity of any appropriate forum, such as this, to encourage “squatters” to fold the seat to the UP position (as happens at our home). Thank you and have a Happy Holiday Season!

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

I understand that there are different ways to use the toilet… However, when I go into the lady’s restroom and find yellow sprinkles and brown smudges on the toilet seat, I feel ill. Why should I have to clean up after others just to relieve myself? Why can’t signs be posted in the restrooms (men’s and women’s) illustrating the proper useage of whatever kind of toilet is available? If I go to a country where people squat over a hole, I will squat over a hole, too. But until that time, I prefer to sit, thankyou.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Squatting or siting..Its doesnt matter how we used to flush out our waste. The main here is how we take of our cleanness and this is also our responsibility to adopt every culture and try to respect it. Till then, I would like to wish all resident of the world a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year. GONG XI FA CAI.

Posted by pixels finder | Report as abusive