Toilet Tales

With a flimsy piece of tissue paper wrapped around the lever, she cautiously pushed the door. As it creaked open, a thousand thoughts ran across her mind. She wondered what she would find inside – a stench so repulsively strong that it was as if something had been decomposing inside for weeks, or one that reminded her of a garden full of blooming fragrant flowers?

No, this is not a whodunit or even a horror story. This is what Wuan and would I do whenever we are at a shopping complex or hotel. We would check out the disabled toilets there. This is not some bizarre perversion. After all, that is one of the places where we would go to discharge, forgive the pun, one of our basic bodily functions every few hours or so.

Some disabled loos are there just for show and most times they are in a sorry state – leaking faucets, dirty sinks, wet floor and cans that are not flushed. While most people can decide not to use that particular latrine, the disabled have no choice because such facilities are limited.

And then, there are establishments that take great pains to keep their johns for the disabled more than spanking clean. These are not your run-of-the-mill water closets. They are replete with floor-to-ceiling tiled walls, motion-activated faucets and flushes, and floor-spaces that are larger than my bedroom.

In that aspect, Jusco Mid Valley Megamall wins hands down with its impeccably clean disabled toilets. Notably, the Household Department at Level 2 boasts of one with a floor-space that is at least 14 square meters (150 square feet). The floor and other fixtures are clean and dry. The door slides effortlessly and the latch works. Bravos to Jusco for taking into account your disabled shoppers’ comfort and to the cleaners for a job well done. Terima kasih.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Minion to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. Columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. Principal Trainer at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

8 thoughts on “Toilet Tales”

  1. Well, Malaysia still has a long long long way to go for being disable friendly. At least in USM, they r renovating some parts to be disable friendly.

  2. A lot of places build ramps for wheelchairs without giving a thought to the practicality of the gradient or are added as an afterthought. What is the point of having ramps that are too steep?

    You are right, we still have a long way to go in making Malaysia disabled friendly. At least the newer buildings such as shopping complexes have incorporated such amenities at the planning stage. Still, a lot more can be done.

    It is good to hear that USM is doing something for the disabled. Schools and institutions of higher learning MUST have such facilities to empower the disadvantaged.

  3. I don’t know whether my office building is unique, or whether it is the norm for buildings built in the 1990s, but we have disabled toilets on all floors, gently inclined wheelchair ramps and 4 disabled parking spaces on each car-park floor. I think such facilities should be made mandatory now, if they aren’t already.

    I find that in terms of amenities, Jusco is also friendly to parents with children. Even the male toilets have baby changing facilities (finally, someone who realises that dad changes the diapers, too!).

  4. et,
    Where do you work? I want to check out the disabled toilets in that building. :o) Jusco gets a 5-star for their toilets. They have honed toilet-building to a fine art.

    It always irks me when I find parking lots allocated to the disabled occupied by those who are not. To you buggers who are doing that, let me tell you this: Stupidity and inconsiderateness is NOT a disability! Park a little farther away for that extra exercise. Your heart needs it.

  5. I am sure JUSCO would be happy to hear that things like that can make a difference to us. Send your link to them and even a “terima kasih” postcard.

  6. Ha! Ha! Interesting subject to talk about, expecially toilets in Malaysia. Most of the time public toilets will be the last place I want to go unless it is a real emergency! My sympathy goes to the disabled if they have to go to one – having to hold on to dirty rims and sliding themselves on the seat. But what choice do they have! Anyway, K.L. may have some places with disabled friendly facilities and toilets but I have really yet to see any of these facilities in smaller cities like in Penang. I have been in a foreign country for a while now and even the public buses are disabled friendly! How’s that! The disabled do indeed have a life here and are able to enjoy the many things just as much as their able bodied friends. Nobody will simply park their cars in the handicapped spot even if the car park is full! Malaysia certainly has a long way to go and even if there ultimately come a time, the mentality has to changed. A country may have the most state-of-the-art architecture etc.but will still be back at square one if the mentality is still of the “tidak apa attitude”.

  7. Linda,
    You are right. The facilities for the disabled are sorely lacking in Malaysia. In addition to that, it is ironic that complex managers have to cordon off the handicapped lots to prevent non-disabled drivers from using it, thus defeating the purpose it was intended to serve in the first place. If only the public can be more conscientious, then the limited facilities reserved for the disabled would be better utilised.

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