Tag Archives: India

9th August 2017 in toilets | Stories from India, Australia and the UK

We start today with two stories showing two different sides of the Prime Minister Modi’s Clean India campaign to make the nation Open Defecation Free. Firstly, with a story from the Indian Express about a movie star, Akshay Kumar, who has lent his name to the campaign. He is travelling around India, recording his journey on Instagram and unveiling 24 new toilets in 24 hours on his Instagram story. It all appears to be part of the promotion for his latest movie, a film called Toilet, which appears to be a love story. I don’t know whether the film is pro-sanitation propaganda or not, but this news story is definitely pro-government.

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The negative side of the Indian government’s campaign to end open defecation is reported in First Post in a story about the village of Rekhasundar in Bihar, where villagers built toilets in their houses on the promise of receiving a government grant. Nine months later, the money hasn’t materialised and so the villagers took the dramatic step of demolishing their new toilets on Saturday morning. As one villager said, “Some of us took loans. My neighbour bought bricks and cement on credit. Now lenders and shopkeepers are pressing us to return their dues. When we go to block officer, we are sent back with promises. How long can we wait? At least we can sell the bricks after destroying it.”

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A villager standing by a newly-demolished toilet – photo from Firstpost, credited to Alok Kumar/Prafull Kumar

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Now to McDonalds in Liverpool in the UK, where a naked man was spotted injecting drugs into his testicles outside the toilet door. A female customer who witnessed it was traumatised. According to the Cambridge News, she was in McDonalds for a morning cup of tea before work and after she saw the man lift his testicles and make strange noises while injecting himself, she ran into the ladies’ toilets and couldn’t stop crying. McDonald’s staff, who were probably panicking made the odd decision to lock the man in the gents’ toilets until the police came.

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Finally, a reality TV story, where news.com.au has reported on an interview with recently evicted Survivor Australia. According to evictee Mark ‘Tarzan’ Herlaar, the toilet provisions on the island were not good. In fact, he said of his fellow contestants that “most of them didn’t shit for three or four days. It’s actually not high on your priority list, going to the bathroom.” TV is weird. I can’t even imagine a situation that would make me forget about pooing for four days.

23 July 2017 in toilets | Stories from India, the UK and the internet

I’m going to start by saying a word about what I’m not going to write about. In this week’s toilet news that I get in my email, I got news about a suicide in a school toilet, about a rape in a public toilet, about a woman giving birth to a baby, which subsequently died, in a public toilet and about a man sexually abusing children in a toilet. Toilets, for a number of reasons, are a venue for some of society’s great evils and I will address this in some future posts, but for right now, I don’t think I’ve found the right tone for that, so I’m going to avoid it for today, but I will come back to it in the future.

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The first story I will report on is from Attitude Magazine and it is about a new computer game based in a men’s toilet in Ohio in the 1960s, where the aim is to cruise men, i.e. pick up men for sex in a public toilet. The aim of the game is to successfully pick men up without the police catching you. I never thought of cruising as something you could “win” at before, but I guess I was wrong.

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A still from The Tearoom game – picture from Attitude

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Next to the city of Kozhikode in Kerala, where The Hindu reports that shopping centre staff are complaining about the lack of toilets. Most of the male staff will find a laneway to piss in, but apparently, the female employees either have to bring a pot to work that they then empty in the streets afterwards, or else bring a bottle which they can close tightly and take home in their bags to empty. We have it lucky.

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Then there’s this tweet from the @Visit_Wakefield account about the wrong way to put a toilet roll.

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Finally, to an Instagram account after my own heart. A man who goes around London photographing and reviewing gents’ toilets on Instagram as “London Urinal”. Keep your freak flying!

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9 July 2017 in toilets | Stories from Australia, India and the internet

Let’s start with the news you’ve all clearly been waiting for. Who won “The Best Toilet in Australia” award? Well, Hit FM tells us that  the winner is Toowoomba Portable Toilets, who boast of their “Dunnies with a difference”. Their portable toilets include a red London phone box, rustic shed,  and a beach house.

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Two of Toowoomba’s dunnies with a difference – pics from hit.com.au

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The Hindustan Times reports on a new product, intended to calm fears around germs and public toilet seats. Neena Narayan, a Delhi homemaker, has invented a disposable toilet seat cover that you can carry with you in your handbag. She says that it “feels like silk, protects like steel.”

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Narayan with her toilet seat cover – pic by Burhaan Kinu in Hindustan Times

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Staying in India, and moving to Gurugram, where the police are investigating the case of 23 missing toilets. The Times of India reports on the case which arose around a new modern office block, Silverton Towers, where the developers sold the space intended to be communal toilet blocks as office space. Some of the companies that have taken office space in the building have reported this to the police and asked them to locate the missing toilets.

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And finally, to a four-year-old Amazon review for a toilet brush, which has reappeared on Reddit and on various tabloid news sites over the last few weeks.

“I don’t know how these things have caught on! Absolute agony and disgusting to use. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m sticking with toilet paper.”

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25 June 2017 in toilets | Stories from the UK, India, Jamaica and Denmark

Ed Miliband was the leader of the opposition in the UK and theoretically could have been Prime Minister until he resigned after losing the general election in 2015. This week, he was on BBC Radio 2, covering for Jeremy Vine and being a light entertainer on his phone-in show. During the week, many topics were covered, but the Evening Standard reports that on Tuesday his topic was toilets. He chatted to listeners about dual flush toilets and even had one caller flush her Victorian toilet live on air. That’s what the man who could have prevented Brexit was doing with his Tuesday.

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The next story is one I have read at least ten times and still don’t understand. It’s about a village in India, which Time reports is informally changing its name to Trump Sulabh Village in honour of President Donald. The move is being led by a toilet charity, which is campaigning for access to sanitation and toilets in India, including in this village. Apparently, the publicity stunt is causing the village to get free toilets for each of the 60 mud houses there. Many of the villagers are said not to know who Trump is, but are delighted to be getting the new toilets. Nothing about this story makes any sense.

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Trump Sulabh Village – photo from Time.com

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The Jamaican Star reports from the neighbourhood of Trenchtown in the capital city Kingston, where the lack of toilet facilities has left residents frustrated. They are complaining to local politicians that many people are using plastic shopping bags (known as “scandal bags” in Jamaica) to defecate in and are then throwing that into the bin, which is causing quite a lot of unpleasantness. Local residents also complain of plastic bags of faeces being used as missiles, which does sound singularly unpleasant.

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Finally, to Denmark, where an archaeologist has found a pile of medieval Viking poo and got herself into some controversy as a result. Ars Technica reports that Anna Beck believes she has found the oldest toilet in Denmark, but that many other archaeologists don’t believe this is possible as there were no toilets in rural Denmark until the 18th century according to current research, and that rural people would have mixed their poo with that of their animals and used it as manure. Beck’s poo pit would seem to claim otherwise.

11 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from India, the USA, the UK and Australia

First up, Australia, and one of this blog’s trustworthy repeat stories – the crazy things that people flush down their toilets. News.com.au ran a story about a plumber in Darwin and the things he’s found blocking toilets, which include: “dead cats, dirty underwear, sex toys, chain mail butcher’s gloves and soiled nappies”. Apparently, children frequently get embarrassed about having accidents in their underwear and flush them to hide the evidence and this frequently causes the plumber to have to be called.

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Chris Murphy, the Darwin plumber interviewed for this story, with the live cat he rescued from a toilet – photo from NT News by Glenn Campbell

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And now to Huddersfield in West Yorkshire in the UK, where the Sunday Express reports on the controversy around a secondary school’s decision to provide gender neutral/unisex bathrooms for their students in an attempt to be inclusive of students of all modes of gender expression.

Apparently parents (especially of female students) are objecting to the change, principally using the argument that girls will be too afraid of bullying to use the toilets with boys present while they’re menstruating and that each cubicle would have to be fitted with individual tampon machines so that girls could procure these without the boys seeing. If that really is the main argument, then it would appear that the boys’ parents need to do a better job of educating their children about menstruation, but I suspect that that isn’t the only reason behind the objections.

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We’re still in the UK, where Wigan Today reports that a website “Cruising Gays” which lists cruising spots for gay men (places where men can look for other men to have anonymous sex) has ranked the toilets at Wigan Wallgate railway station as the best for anonymous hook-ups in the region. Congratulations?

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A racism row has been reported on CBS’s Dallas-Fort Worth site about the small town of Paris Texas, where signs proclaiming “Negro Toilets” with explanatory notes about the Civil Rights Act, which were erected next to the site of what were formerly racially segregated toilets have been removed. Apparently, the were erected in an effort to educate about the racist past, but the wording has served to offend and reinforce and so they have been removed.

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The offending signs. Photo from CBS DFW, by Brenda Cherry

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Finally, to India, where a court row about two toilets in Bangalore has been resolved after 36 years according to the Bangalore Mirror. The two toilets were built in 1981 by one family. The woman next door claimed that the toilets blocked her right of way between the two houses and demanded that they be demolished so she could access the laneway between the houses. The court rejected her argument, stating that she could not establish that she had a right of way there. However, they also ordered that the toilets be demolished anyway, as they were  taking support from the complainant’s house.  So everyone’s a loser!

Spray, don’t wipe; no toilet, no wedding; and a church toilet for all

The first story today isn’t really news, but I enjoyed it, so here we are. Global Indonesian Voices includes a story today about why Indonesians just don’t like pooing in Europe or America because there is no sprayer attached to the loo and they are expected to use “dry toilet paper to clean away fecal matter”, which apparently grosses them out and doesn’t leave them feeling clean.

The story discusses different traditions around arse-cleaning, and in one of my favourite paragraphs I’ve ever read, explains the differences’ source in weather and history. “As human are creatures of habit, a habit that had been embedded for eons will be definitely hard to change—the using of water for Indonesians is deeply ingrained.It’s very unlikely for the Northerners to bring their bottom down into the icy water. The Southerners, on the other hand, could enjoy indulging themselves to the feel of flowing water brushed against the glutes.”

Brush your glutes with flowing water today, go on. Live a little.

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The campaign to end open defecation in India won religious support this weekend. The Times of India reports that maulvis and muftis (muslim officials) in the provinces of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab will now refuse to solemnise marriages in houses with no toilet. Reading about this necessary campaign day after day does make me feel sorry for communities who have change inflicted on them like this. There seems to be a lot more stick than carrot involved in India’s great toilet revolution.

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And finally, to Liverpool, where The Echo is reporting on a church renovation. The Anglican St Brides apparently prides itself on its inclusivity and welcomes LGBTQIA members. To this end, the new “unisex toilets will ensure inclusivity for visitors of all abilities and gender identities”.

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The planned exterior of St. Bride’s Church – photo from The Liverpool Echo

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Killer public toilets and a ban on menstruating women in the toilet

The Times of India reports on the death of 3 men while they were waiting in line to use a public toilet in the Mankhurd suburb of Mumbai on the 3rd February. The building collapsed around them and five men fell into the 15-foot septic tank, three of them dying. The toilet has had similar problems in the past and seven people have died there in the last two years. A court case has been initiated against the city authorities by the Mahatma Gandhi Centre.

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My Republica has a story from the Bajhang district of Nepal, where remote villages have recently had toilets installed. In 20 of these villages, women have been banned from using the toilet while they are menstruating or immediately post-delivery, by the village elders. This means that these women and girls are forced to relieve themselves in the outdoors to avoid “defiling” the toilets and angering the deities. Menstruating women are even banned from touching toilets, and many women are being discouraged from using the toilets even when they are not menstruating. Local women protesting the decision of the elders say that they carried the mud and the bricks to build the toilets even while they were menstruating and so they should have the right to use them now.

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