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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Holy Automatic Loo, Batman!

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Image nicked from The Star, hosting by PhotobucketYou know what could really do with improvement in Malaysia? Our public toilets. So it the news about the brand spanking new Automatic Street Toilet for KL, reported in The Star, should come as welcome news to Walski, right?


WRONG. While Walski does think the new auto-toilets are a pretty nifty idea, there's always something wrong somewhere when all we do is throw money at the real problem.

So, Walski, why are you being such a wet blanket cynic about this bold move?

For one thing, each of these suckers costs a cool RM 500k, as reported by China Press (via mageP's Lab), and DBKL apparently has, on order, 20 of these gargantuan sh*t-holes. That's... RM 10 Million in total, for the benefit of you math-challenged readers out there. Tax-payers' RM 10 Million, by the way.

Reading the report in The Star, using these automated piss cans will cost you RM 1 per entry, for a total of 15 minutes, after which the doors will open automatically. Heh... Yeah, DBKL should amend their public indecency laws, just so that innocent people who can't tell time don't get slapped a fine for accidentally exposing themselves because their 15 minutes were up.

In fairness, the news report does state that a pre-recorded message will sound at the 14th minute:

"Get yo' ass off the can in T-minus 60... 59...."

Okay, maybe not that exact pre-recorded message, but would it be cool if it were? With Chris Rock doing the voice-over?

And it kinda gives a whole new meaning to "everybody gets their 15 minutes"... Andy must be turning in his grave right about now.

In all seriousness, though, Walski does have a few problems with these expensive automatons.
(more pissy commentary in the full post)

For starters: State-of-the-art toilets is not going to solve the root of our dirty toiet syndrome. And the root of the problem is our apalling toilet habits, coupled with our general inability (or unwillingness) to keep the toilets dry, and compounded by our legendary public works maintenenance performance record.

We've had numerous, and might Walski add failed, clean toilet campaigns. And why did these campaigns fail? Simply put - attitude. The piss-poor attitude of many Malaysians who don't even have the common courtesy to ensure that they properly clean up after themselves, post-business. Big or small.

And lets not even get started on how wet the typical Malaysian toilet is, which to Walski is a big part of keeping our toilets clean - our apparent need to wet the whole damn place. And presumably, these new-fangled automated toilets will be filled with electronics of some variety.

NEWSFLASH: Electronics and water don't get along very well...

Which leads to the next question Walski has: after spending RM 10 Million on these automated outhouses, can we expect them to last long enough to even see Visit Malaysia Year 2007 through? (Which is why DBKL purchased them in the first place) Or are they going to end up like the rest of our public loos?

Speaking of maintenance, Walski wonders which Xtreme Networking friend got the maintenance contract for these new-fangled out houses? This tiny detail, of course, was not revealed by the news report - at least not the one in The Star.

Cynicism aside, this bowel movement by DBKL is a bold one, and is probably targeted at tourists, more than anyone else. RM 1 a pop for your fifteen minutes....