Monday, March 24, 2008

The one buck wee

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Malaysians have a strange love/hate relationship with 2 things: food and public toilets (I suppose there is a sort of progressive logic there somewhere if you look hard enough).

On the food front, missing a meal is seen as the closest thing to blasphemy after disparaging Islam; however, the philosophy is the cheaper the better. The price of a roti canai goes up from 80 sen to 1 Ringitt and there's a national outcry (ministers make pronouncements, "inspectors" are sent out, etc). Everywhere you go, large buckets of badly cooked, sticky, soggy rice stand by to satisfy the needs of a never-ending stream of overweight diners.

But it's the toilet thing that I feel the need to relieve myself over. Malaysians treat public toilets as ... well, I can't actually think of an apt description. Suffice to say that you don't want to be down wind.

As a consequence of this, some enterprising individuals, or indeed facility owners, have taken to charging one for entry ( I assume the proceeds go towards paying various poor buggers to wipe, mop, splash and otherwise maintain some semblence of cleanliness. KLCC shopping centre, for eg, has, on the ground floor, an "executive toilet," the entry to which is RM2. Let me be the first to say that it is clean, to their credit. (The upper floors' toilets, not so much.)

So here's my point: If I pay for a one buck wee and only manage a 30 sen wee, do I get a rebate? I mean, one might be struck with stage-fright. And can I get a double entry ticket? What if I have a coffee while shopping (it's a diuretic, as we all know)? Are tickets transferrable? What about season tickets?

It's a complicated issue. And one that deserves serious debate.