Tag Archives: Parliament

4 June 2017 in Toilets | Stories from New Zealand, Japan, China, South Africa, the US, the UK and Ireland

Welcome to the new format – from now on every Sunday I’ll be posting all of the internet’s best toilet stories from the last week. I imagine you’ve missed me lots.

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Let’s start in New Zealand, with a story about a policeman keeping his job. TVNZ reports on the story of a “highly trained” police officer, whose job is to protect the New Zealand Prime Minister and other VIPs, who kept his job after a disciplinary process. He was using the public toilet in parliament and put his loaded Glock pistol down and then forgot to pick it up. An hour and a half later, when he was on his way back, having realised he’d forgotten his gun, it was discovered by a member of the public. Luckily, no harm was done.

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Breaking News reports that Sober Lane, a pub in my home city of Cork, has installed a “Snapchat machine” in the ladies’ toilets, so women on a night out can record their toilet fun and drunk group selfies on the pub’s Snapchat story. I’m sure nothing at all will go wrong.

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The ladies’ toilet Snapchat Machine  – photo from BreakingNews.ie

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Angry commuter stories make me happy. Angry commuters pissing in plastic bottle stories are amazing. Read this story in the East Anglian Daily Times to experience the anger of rail passengers stuck on a train that only had working toilets in half of the carriages. It does sound inconvenient, as they had to get off the train and get back on another carriage in order to access the toilets, so I’m not not on the passengers’ side. But I still find the idea of the people of East Anglia angrily pissing into bottles on a train quite funny.

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Now, a story from the Sowetan Live, about a man who has an amazing name and amazing hair. There is apparently a singer  and reality TV star called Papa Penny Penny. Imagine being called Papa Penny Penny and not being a reality TV star. Anyway, the story goes that he once worked as a toilet cleaner. He told a show called Real Talk that “some people would just do their deeds beside [instead of inside] the toilet pot but I just cleaned”. Poor Papa Penny Penny.

 

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Papa Penny Penny – photo from Sowetan Live

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Now to China, where a news story in This Week in Asia appears to be trying to make Japan’s good toilets as much of a problem as China’s bad ones. The story tells of the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, when the city’s many dirty, smelly and old-fashioned toilets had to be renovated before the Games started. It compares this situation to Japan’s amazing toilets, thought to be the best in the world, and lists some of the advantages of Japan’s toilets, with their automated functions, heated seats, built-in bidets and washing functions and even the ability to measure blood pressure or analyse urine content. It claims that before the Olympics come to Japan 2020, the Japanese will have a similar problem because competitors and crowds from around the world won’t be able to figure out how to use the loos there. You should mainly read this story for the amazing photos of Japanese toilets, two of which I include here.

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This is a photo of Inax’s (a Japanese firm) flagship toilet at a Shanghai expo. Imagine having a flagship toilet. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP. 

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A man wearing a poo-shaped hat climbs a giant toilet slide at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. Amazing. Photo from This Week in Asia, credited AFP.

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Finally to San Francisco, and a story from Business Insider (which is basically Buzzfeed in a suit) about a journalist who tries a Japanese toilet. It’s not just any Japanese toilet. It’s apparently “the Mercedes Benz of toilets” and it costs $10,200. To be honest, that’s too much to spend on an actual Mercedes Benz. She said the toilet was nice, but unsurprisingly she also said that it wasn’t ten thousand dollars nice.

 

A loo coup, a burning toilet, green room toilets and a space loo

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Female parliamentarians protest while holding hair dryers and hair straighteners. (Pic from the Sydney Morning Herald)

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on the so-called “Loo Coup” in the New South Wales parliament. Female parliamentarians are protesting the poor toilet facilities for women. Men have three showers on each floor, while women have one in the whole building and in the parliamentary gym (imagine a parliamentary gym! Imagine it!), the men’s facilities are described as palatial, while the women have a little dingy room with one sink. The male legislative council president said he was sympathetic, but building decent bathrooms for the women would cost $500,000, so it looks unlikely to happen.

The Marion Star carries a sad and bizarre story from Marion, Ohio. A three-year-old boy pushed his two-year-old brother’s head into the toilet while they were playing and flushed. The boy was burned by the water which was 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius). The little boy is being treated in hospital. It transpired that the toilet had been hooked up to the home’s water heater and the landlord is now being investigated by the police.

Also in Ohio, the Columbus Dispatch reports on the green room facilities provided to Republican presidential primary candidates as they prepared for the candidates’ debate. Candidates were assigned green rooms according to the proportion of the vote they are currently getting in polls, so Donald Trump’s team got a conference room and Marco Rubio got a theatre, as they’re both polling well, but Chris Christie and Rand Paul, both of whom are polling very poorly were assigned bathrooms in which to prepare. No one loves a loser.

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Trump’s green room on the left; Paul’s on the right. (Picture from @lacivitac on Twitter)

And finally to the International Space Station, where astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti gave a YouTube tour of the toilets in space. The toilet doesn’t look very toilet-y. But what freaks me out a little is the suction aspect. Because of the lack of gravity, suction is applied when you pee into a tube. The idea of pee being sucked out of me entirely freaks me out.

Indian teachers, Ghanaian latrines, English toilets for English voters and a sexist door

You can’t be a toilet-blogger in 2015 and not write about India, where a sanitation revolution is happening at the moment. As the government there battles to install indoor toilets and to persuade people of the value of indoor sanitation, my daily toilet newsfeed is thronged with stories of India, and the new toilet policy’s successes and failures.

In today’s The Hindu, a story reports on teachers and toilets in the Vijayapura district. Of the 16,000 teachers in the district, 2,000 do not have a toilet in their home. The district-in-charge minister is worried by this news. Apparently, teachers are responsible for encouraging students to build indoor toilets and they cannot do this if they are not building their own toilets. Apparently, the fact that the government grant for installing indoor toilets is smaller in urban areas (about 5,000 rupees) than in rural districts (about 15,000 rupees) and so the take-up in cities is not as good as was hoped.

According to Graphic Online, measures are being taken in Ghana to address the same problem. A story there outlines the scale of the problem in a country where only 15% of people use “improved household toilet facilities” and “open defecation” is a frequent problem. The government has instructed district assemblies to deal with the problem on a local level and apparently this has led to many communities deciding to build “communal latrines”, rather than toilets in individual houses “following on from our traditions”. It is reported that this has led to little improvement in the open defecation situation as people are unwilling to walk to the communal facilities at night time and provision is rarely being made to keep these latrines clean.

The article does have a bright side, however, describing “fecal entrepreneurs” who are like the alchemists of old, turning shit into gold, by building and servicing communal and household toilets all over the country.

On a lighter note, Wrexham.com, reports on the situation in the Westminster parliament, where the devolution of power to the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies means that for the first time, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs are excluded from Westminster votes on matters that only effect England. One such vote was occurring on Thursday evening, when a Welsh MP ventured to use the parliamentary toilets. He tweeted:

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Finally today, a photo of some sexist toilet doors that were causing a storm on reddit today. Feel the rage.

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