20131120 From advice on dengue, Minister Grace Fu has shifted to public toilets

I refer to Asiaone article “soon, easier to use and cleaner loos” dated 20 Nov. link

The article boldly claims that “dirty toilets may soon be a thing of the past”. Judging from past efforts of government agencies, it appears dirty toilets will be here to stay.

New government regulations, as usual, addresses the problem of unhygienic toilets from a hardware point of view. This is a typical government approach of throwing money and hoping for a solution i.e. LTA not inspecting bicycle facilities but building additional ones without removing hundreds of abandoned bicycles, RCs changing its name and incurring cost of new signages without improving its contributions to residents, etc.

In short, its all cosmetic changes which mostly benefit only contractors.

Just take a look at our coffee shop toilets which have been sorely lacking in hygiene for decades. As the agency in charge, the NEA would probably absolve itself of blame and pin it on ‘we need the cooperation of all stakeholders’.

Grace Fu’s latest pearls of wisdom: “A public washroom should be well-designed to ensure that it is pleasant while being easy to clean. If you don’t wash your hands after you use it, and you leave marks on the doorknobs, these can potentially spread… infectious diseases.” When was the last time she used a coffee shop/hawker center toilet?

I believe many can easily recall Grace’s advice to dengue patients “to prevent themselves from (getting bitten by) the mosquitoes.” http://therealsingapore.com/content/grace-fu-dengue-patients-need-avoid-getting-bitten

Coming from a minister, one can really feel a strong sense of motherly love for all Singaporeans or the minister really has nothing better to do. Is this another instance of “Jiak Liao Bee”?

The NEA has never been held accountable for its failure in bringing up the standard of hygiene of coffee shop and hawker center toilets. Nor will it be anytime soon. Since the minister has too much time on hand, I would suggest she assist heartlanders by inspecting more public toilets and providing her “pleasant” experience feedback to the NEA.

The NEA has already failed to resolve the decades-old littering issue. As for high-rise littering, it is again simplistic to expect results by throwing money at some hardware (cameras)

While I do not disagree that toilets need some upgrading, the more important task is to alter the mindset of users. But with the influx of foreign workers from rural villagers, it is doubtful any upgraded, “spanking clean” toilet can remain so for long.

Phillip Ang

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