Friday, July 4, 2008

Flushing with Pride

Beijing is hoping that its millions of visitors, including an estimated half a million foreigners will have a wonderful experience using the over 5,300 public toilets in the city and Olympic venues.

All the public facilities will have free toilet paper and liquid soap -- a new development that will be available during the Olympics and Paralymics.

There's even 8,000 workers trained to keep the toilets clean.

"Public toilets reflect the living and hygiene standards of a society", said Guo Weidong, a Beijing municipal administration commission spokesman.

And for those not able or willing to squat over a hole, there are some Western-style toilets too.

"Beijing is working hard to make every public toilet a pleasant experience for the millions who visit the city for the Games," said Yu Debin, deputy director of the Beijing tourism bureau.

The toilet drive began in 2005 after a 1994 survey showed 60 percent of foreigners were afraid to enter public toilets in the city.

My policy is to use hotel restrooms. But of course I'll go to the nearest loo if I'm really desperate. And I've had to use some really nasty ones, like the one in a truck stop when I went to Hebei Province for a weekend in the grasslands.

Basically they were open stalls that were open pits that were never cleaned and there was no water to flush either.

I'm sure you catch my drift.

It's so interesting to see how Beijing is obsessed about presenting a clean image of the city with its public toilets.

Now if only its people would follow through and more of them wash their hands after each use...


ks said...

china has to catch up with world standard in this toilet culture. the masses have to be educated in personal hygiene. hope this trend will last long past the olympic gaames.

Airchild said...

I've used those "open pit" type toilets in Beijing years ago. There weren't any doors and the men could actually see part of the women's toilet... anything, I don't need to go into details. I think you know what I'm talking about. Well, after this extremely embarrassing visit, I swore I'd never go to these "free toilets" anymore. One time, I had to wait for someone to interview in the middle of nowhere and I was really desperate but I refused to go to the public toilet. That day I ended up holding for eight hours!!!

To remind people to wash their hands, perhaps they could install loudspeakers in the toilets and run
"public education announcements", just like the type that runs in some public Hong Kong toilets targeted at mainland tourists :)