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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Squatgate 2

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No, no... it's not another case of a police detainee being subjected to nekkid squatting. Heck, it's not even got anything to do with Malaysia.

It would appear that in the gung ho gusto of getting ready for Beijing 2008 later this summer, China has overlooked one important cultural difference - that of toilets. Squat vs Sit-down, and the fact that the former is not preferred by many foreigners.

But at least they're taking fast remedial action... before the shit hits the fans.
(to squat, or not to squat, in the full post)

Image taken from, hosting by PhotobucketPersonally, Walski has problems with squat toilets. Especially those in Malaysia. They aren't the most practical when you have pants and shoes on. Seriously - in a Malaysian squat toilet, unless you have the ability to levitate, you're either gonna get your pant legs or socks wet. And in Malaysian toilets, it may not necessarily be just water staining your clothes...

The last time that Walski had to use a public squat toilet, it was a serious emergency. To cut a messy (and possibly very gross) story short, let's just say that he ran into difficulties keeping his clothes... ummm... clean.

But back to Beijing, Walski can fully understand the difficulty the western athletes have complained about. With every problem, however, is at least one opportunity.

Yao [referring to Yao Hui, a Beijing Olympics official] said he believed that eventually, the majority of Chinese would use the sit-down variety of toilet, as people do in large parts of the developed world.

"The Olympics is an opportunity to speed up the transition," he said.

(source: Reuters)

Toilet humor aside, Walski reckons that if you're forced to do something, might as well come up with a plausible justification to make yourself look less negligent for overlooking this huge cultural difference in the first place.

And that's the one thing you really gotta hand to the Chinese - no adversity is bad enough that you can't find an opportunity out of...

Incidentally, how do you say "shit happens" in Chinese, anyway?