• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 5:50pm
NewsHong Kong

World Toilet Organisation steps into public urination row

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 May, 2014, 5:41am
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 May, 2014, 5:41am

The WTO has now weighed in on the issue of public urination and defecation. No, not the World Trade Organisation, but the World Toilet Organisation.

"Public education at points of entry could be useful," said WTO's Singapore founder, Jack Sim Ruihua, following the controversy sparked by an online video of a mainland couple allowing their toddler to go to the toilet in a busy Mong Kok street.

"Make the message clear that people will die if they keep doing that," he said. "The flies will go to the poop and spread disease."

Sim said Hong Kong should help mainland visitors understand the importance of hygiene, and offered his organisation's help to create a memorable public education campaign.

With initiatives like the "Don't Eat S*** Campaign" and "Potty Parity", the WTO brings humour to a serious and, usually, little discussed public health issue.

Hong Kong, Sim said, was particularly sensitive to the issue of disease after the Sars crisis in 2003 - which killed 299 Hongkongers - and outbreaks of avian flu, among other epidemics.

Sim advised Hong Kong to enlist the help of celebrities for an aspirational campaign. "Something like, 'Toilet habits reflect your dignity'," he suggested. "Most people don't like to be disgraced. Make hygiene a status issue."

While the World Toilet Organisation sounds kooky, it is linked to serious players, like the United Nations Environment Programme, the Asian Development Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. It has more than 200 members and its current chairman is a graduate of the school of foreign service at Washington's Georgetown University and Harvard Law School.

Sim said the issue in Hong Kong would not be fixed overnight as large parts of the mainland were still developing and people there were learning the importance of hygiene.

He added: "I am sure there are people from the mainland who don't act this way, who are upset that Hong Kong people are bundling them in with people who do.

"They will be scolding their own and that will be helpful."


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This article is now closed to comments

Dai Muff
Question 1: I have almost never encountered a locked office toilet, although shared toilets in public buildings may be different. Keys can be obtained.
Question 2: Yes, I have witnessed people stealing toilet paper, weirdly enough. I have also heard them unrolling half the roll in the next cubicle. I have not checked their origin, although many of them are elderly.
Question 3: By law, Hong Kong bars and restaurants, and even coffee shops, must have access to a toilet, although this may not apply to dai pai dongs. If you see one that does not, report it. You cannot get a licence from the FEHD without this (and you may check with the FEHD if you doubt me). There are also strict stipulations for how many toilets you must have in accordance with your seating capacity.
If you are going to call Hong Kongers hypocrites, check your facts first.
indeed Hong Kong is very hypocritical, we shout at Mainlanders who's kids do "their business" in the streets but ALL office toilets are locked and you need a key to enter. Why is that? Is it because Hong Kong people make a huge mess of toilet area's, do they steel the toilet paper? Also the fact that most restaurants and some bars do not have their own washrooms is unthinkable in the civilized world where you can's open a bar or restaurant if there are no proper washrooms available.
Luckily Hong Kong has sufficient 5 star hotels and that is where I do my business as they are kept clean by the attendants unlike many office toilets and YES I do tip the attendant at least HK$ 10 each time I go as I truly appreciate a clean washroom
crxp article
SCMP is really taking the pixx
story is dead & the po op has been scooped
1. There are NO public toilets in office buildings. Only for tenants. AND most toilets in office buildings are locked. You are wrong.
2. That is why all toilets no matter where are locked.
3. The bars, cafe, restaurants do share a common toilet some distance away. AND even there, you often need to ask for a key.
All in all, HK as a tourist city hasn't got a sufficient public toilet system.
Dai Muff
1: He did not say "public" toilets. If you are in the office building you have access there and may use a toilet. And no office I have EVER worked in or visited locks its toilets to staff or legitimate visitors.
2: See above. You must visit some pretty low class offices.
3: Again, not true. Read the FEHD guidelines. And preferring to defecate in public than ask for a key is somehow getting the whole idea of embarrassment wrong.
Are we sure this isn't from the Onion?
Sim is either too simple or too naive. Spend 5 mins on mainland forums like Tianya one can easily conclude that this "Strong Country" is just hopeless.
WTO ( world toilet organisation ) must advice all countries around the world :
all buildings ( housing, office, industrials ) , fast food /rest , shopping malls / shops, etc....
if anybody want to use toilet citizens have right to use them and all of them should allow nobody can say it is closed. it is common saying that : toilet is closed and it is for members only not for public. Humans need toilet childrens n senior citizens or even young people cannot hold and they look for toilets.. public toilets have to look here n there and might be far away. if above all buildings help and co-operative toilet problems will be solved. toilets are for humans only (not for animals ) hope readers and viewers will also add their comments on this thanks/ narwani
Hihihi... Nothing is good by human, always complain, what is the best solution for wildplas? 1e Boete, 2e boete, 3e boete (cashpay 200hkd each time) ... Why, they have always this bill in pocket for shopping, so let's them feel this pain for one wildplas! (Definitions of wildplassen, synonyms, antonyms, derivatives of wildplassen, analogical dictionary of wildplassen). Building more wc/toilet on street, it's means more ****, on street... agree? Yes, it's will be more stink or smell on the street with 20C-40C in HK (no cleaner!)... even a lot of critters or little beast make their new home... hihihi... HK has make a new welcome home DownTown CRITTERS... hihihi... hihihi... funny, laugh me death... I was always by shopping mall, Shop, cafe-shop, eathouse, fastfood etc... first go to the restroom before go to street, here we pay € 0,25 pp... it's a good idea... they have a clean worker for this restroom to collect this money and clean wc! it's also a job, most are old woman (B-choice) who do this work, good idea! Don't waste tax money to build a wrong idea, wrong spending... before u want a idea gone be a good work, u must first select a local place to experience (placements) for couple time... IF, then no judgement or complain(vote), this plan or idea will be working in the whole system (city/land)... not so, plan a big idea without knowledge or consequences! Stupid, Jack Sim Ruihua, FIRED!!!... hihihi... go home men! ... Freedom of Speech...
Dai Muff



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