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KL and the state of Asian plumbing.

MALAYSIA | Monday, 20 April 2015 | Views [575]

Greetings from glittering Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, or KL as everyone (including all the locals) seem to call it. For the geographically challenged, KL is the capital of Malaysia. The city’s most iconic feature is the Patronas Towers, which from 1998 to 2004 were the tallest buildings in the world, and which remain the largest twin towers standing on the planet. Hard core Sean Connery fans will recall that the Patronas Towers were heavily featured (along with some awe inspiring footage of Katherine Zeta Jones’ spandexed derriere) in the 1999 film Entrapment, the climax of which took place on the sky bridge which connects the two towers some 40 stories from the ground.


But enough about KL. Asian megalopolises like KL, Hong Kong, Singapore and Bangkok are all cites awash in massive shopping malls where a burgeoning Asian middle (and in many cases upper) class seems to shop ceaselessly. Much like big cities in the U.S., their commercialism has made them in many ways indistinguishable. 


However, as long as I’ve already broached the subject of posteriors in this post, I’d like to discuss an issue that does distinguish American society from that in Asia. Namely toilets. Now, I’m not talking about the notorious squat toilets which I’m sure are still found all over many poorer areas of Asia, especially China. I think we can all agree that those tend to  be repugnant. No. I’m talking about Asian “western style” toilets versus their American counterparts. 


First, Asian toilets almost universally have two flusher buttons, one which dispenses a small amount of water for liquid deposits and one which dispenses a full flush for big deposits. Why don’t American toilets adopt that feature? It saves so much water, especially in places like draught ridden California. Second, almost every “western style” toilet I have seen in Asia has a specially designed spray hose taking the place of the nasty toilet brush. Why on earth would you want to scrub offending remains off a toilet bowl with an already soiled multi-use brush, when you could just wash it away with a full powered stream of clean water? 


Finally, I know Americans tend to get squeamish and giggly at the thought of using a bidet, but that’s just an ass backward view in my opinion. As a very wise person I know once observed, “If you had poop on your hands, you would’t wipe it off using a dry napkin,” which is essentially what you’re doing when you’re cleaning with toilet paper alone. You need to be washing that stuff off with a solvent like water or soap, and that is exactly what a bidet is designed to do. Many Asian toilets have a bidet already built into them. After you do your duty and wipe up, you just give the area a quick rinse to finish the job.


Now, I’m not even talking about the Japanese and Korean Super toilets. Those things are in an entirely different league. They wash, dry, warm, play music, allow myriad flow adjustments, all sorts of bells and whistles. I’m just talking about the standard “western style” Asian toilet that I see almost every place I visit.


It’s time for America to get on the pot when it comes to personal sanitation standards. We can’t claim to be the cleanest, most technologically advanced nation on earth when we’re still shitting the way we do.


P.S. Check out my new Sri Lanka photos on my photography website www.billarmstrong.photography

Tags: bidet, flush, japan, kl, malaysia, patronas, squat, technology, toilets, western

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