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Blatant Abuse of Disabled Toilets

June 21st, 2005 - Tuesday

Berjaya Times Square has some of the cleanest disabled toilets anywhere in Kuala Lumpur. The floors are dry and the wash basins and water closet bowls are clean. One has to look for the janitor to unlock the door. This is a tad inconvenient but that little effort in hunting for the janitor is worth the cleanliness.

When asked why the doors are usually locked, one of the janitors said, “Orang tak sakit pun mahu guna.”

I have had to use many disabled toilets that are disgustingly filthy. Some have doors that cannot be locked, water closet bowls that are not flushed, grimy wash basins and floors that are wet. Some have been vandalized. The abuse of disabled toilets is a despicable act. It deprives the people who really need to use it the convenience. Those are the only toilets that the physically disabled can use and they are far and few in between.

Some people are simply too lazy to walk those extra step to use the normal toilets. This is ironic. By selfishly disregarding the purpose the disabled logo was put there in the first place, it would have caused inconvenience to people like me should we need to use it. Several times, I have had to wait to use one only to see the person using it before me walking out without showing signs of physical impediment.

Last week, after I got out from the disabled toilet and asked the janitor to lock the door, one middle-aged lady rushed in after me. Her friends asked her why she was using that particular toilet, pointing to the huge disabled logo on the door. She simply mumbled that the disabled toilet can also be used. I looked at the janitor. She shook her head. I replied with a sympathetic smile.



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43 Responses to “Blatant Abuse of Disabled Toilets”

  1. BawangMerah says:

    You’ve made me feel guilty. I’ve used the toilets for the disabled before, but only because all the other toilets were full :(

  2. Life Feel says:

    The problem is caused by Malaysians’ mentality, upbringing and attitude.

    In Germany, people are civic minded and they do not do so. To them, toilet is like thier living rooms and disabled people enjoy very nice facilities there.

    I think Malaysian government itself do not put effort in making proper facilities for the disabled.
    maybe the government itself has this bad attitude and mentality?

    Malaysians, they are friendly but they lack civic consciousness and a little bit of COMPASSION.

  3. sharina says:

    thank god i’m not guilty of the above. my uncle is handicapped but very independent.

    m’sians need to change their mentality. whats the use of having smart schools if the basic social ethics cant be mastered?

  4. lucia says:

    i think most of us are like bawang merah (sorry if you feel i speak too generally). we tend to want to use the disabled toilet when we see the other toilets are full or when we see no disabled person around to use it. it’s not that we don’t have compassion for the disabled… we do. if we see a disabled person, of course we will let her/him use it but we feel that what the heck, no disabled person is around, so it’s ok we use it. why, i remember a few times while travelling when we stop at petrol station’s toilet, we ladies even use the gents’ toilet… because no gents were around to use it and there were so many of us ladies queuing to use that one female toilet.

    i agree with life feel that malaysians lack civic consciousness. dirty broken public toilets topped the list as the most ‘abused’ public property.

  5. Peter says:

    BawangMerah,
    I hope you are not one of those who park at the disabled parking lots too when the car parks are full…

    Life Feel,
    The government has made provisions but enforcement is sorely lacking. Couple that with the ignorant public who think they can abuse and vandalise public amenities and get away with it makes life outside a challenge for people who are disabled and have to use such facilities.

    sharina,
    There was a time – during my schooling days – we were always taught to be compassionate to the elderly, the pregnant and the disabled. I had often given up my seat in the bus to people like these. Now when I am waiting for the elevator, whenever they see me on a wheelchair, they will just turn their heads away and hope that the door will close sooner. Such is the mentality now. This is sad.

    lucia,
    That is a wrong attitude. What if a disabled person comes just after you have gone into the toilet? The disabled signboard is put there for a purpose. Ladies using the gents’ toilets is a diffent issue altogether. Likewise, just because the disabled parking lots are empty, will you park your car there?

  6. Peter says:

    suanie,
    What is amazing?

  7. Kervin says:

    I agree that many services reserved for the disbaled are misused because we have the mentality that ‘no one is going to use it anyway so everyone is free to make use of it’. It’s sad to see scenes like the disabled parking at the LRT being booked by someone with normal capacity. Same can be said for reserved seating at the LRT’s. Disabled toilets, it’s a pity since everyone doesn’t mind using them. civic mindedness is at an all point low I’m afraid.

  8. Peter says:

    Kervin,
    “Just because it is there’ is a mentality most people have. They simply cannot see that it is there with that big blue sign of a stickman on a wheelchair because it was built with a purpose. Even parents and grandmothers are doing that. What role models are there for the children to emulate?

  9. Life Feel says:

    Talking about facilities for the disabled, that reminds me of busses.

    Sometimes when the bus is full people will sit on seats for the disable.

    but the real grotesque eyesore is…

    when an old lady, or a disabled person goes into the bus, these “healthy young” people do not even care to give thier seats to them….

    They just stick thier butts on tempat untuk orang cacat seat.

  10. LcF says:

    are we lack of education or lack of toilet?

    I guess most use disabled toilet when there is a long Q in normal toilet. “Why should I join the long Q while there is empty one(disabled toilet)?”

    Oh. no, I am not one of them. :)

  11. lucia says:

    yes, most definetely it is a wrong attitude, peter but well what to do, that is the malaysian’s attitude… as in your response to kervin.

    yep i know ladies using gent’s toilet is a different issue but i was trying to draw a parallel of as what you yourself brought up “just because it is there and nobody uses it, i can use it”.

    well i’m glad to say that personally i haven’t use the disabled toilet before at all (but yes i had use the gents’ toilet before) – and of course i would not use the parking bay for disabled too. i am civic minded. :)

  12. suanie says:

    well not really amazing. malaysian drivers still cannot read road signs let alone choose the proper toilet to do their business.

    but I still think that a lot of things are caused by the parents’ mentality. lack of a civic conscious upbringing. a lot of countries far outstrips us in this matter.

  13. NSDS3HvLDjJd says:

    Such tales are uncommon to me… since I rarely find toilets for the disabled. But no worries, I won’t use them. Perhaps helping to open the door as well.

  14. Tinkerbell says:

    Peter,

    I hope I’m not being insensitive here but I think there is a big difference between disabled car park and disabled toilet.

    While there is no justification for the former, there are often real mitigating circumstances for the latter.

    For those who use a disabled toilet only because (1) the normal toilets are full,
    (2) very strong nature’s call, perhaps?
    (3) the sure knowledge that he would be finished and out within a minute
    (4) the mother with a baby in a pram and does not want the baby unattended.

    I know I’ve been guilty of a combination of the above.

    I think you have to forgive us for succumbing to the thought “What is the chance of a disabled person coming along? Besides, I am only going to take a minute at most.”

    It is just like the Disabled isle at my local supermarket. There is almost never any disabled shopper using it, so instead of the cashier sitting there all day doing nothing, ordinary shoppers will use it, and in the event that a disabled shopper turns up, no worries, obviously the queue gives way to him.

    I am writing from the perspective of someone who’s never known physical disability and therefore may be totally clueless about the needs of the disabled. Please correct me if I’ve missed something.

  15. percolator says:

    Tinkerbell DOES have a point. OK let this fool (me) rush in..
    Re the scenario she painted (urgent call, diarrhoea and all) able or disabled, we are ALL ocassionally rendered TOTALLY helpless (disabled, if you like) by our bodily functions. Surely physical disability does not void a person of capacity for compassion and generosity. Would/should a disabled person think: “NOPE, this is off-limits to you mate, you may not use our toilet, even if it is not needed at the moment. I have no idea (nor care) if you pee/poop in you pants, but this is a disabled toilet, and you’re not disabled, go find a normal toilet.
    Let me tell you, I have felt DISABLED with poo or menstruation running down my legs with no loo but the disabled one available, within sprinting distance. Imagine pressing your thighs together,
    vainly hoping to staunch the flow of shit or blood, while trying to run, doubled over in cramps, desparately hunting a toilet. Ridiculous, pathetic, embarassing, humiliating, almost pitiful right?
    The abled bodied do not have the relative ‘safety’ and ironically, dignity (under such circumstances) afforded by diapers. In such a situaion, the physically-able is definitely more diabled than physically-disabled!
    I have used the Disabled toilet on those ocassions. I have felt NO GUILT whatsoever, even when I see a disabled person upon emerging. So help me God, I was desparate to preserve my dignity in public.
    In such situations, provided we are not mentally disabled, we ALL have the capacity and indeed, equally, the moral obligation to share and care for our fellow human beings. Some situations are simply equalisers.

  16. percolator says:

    … and I exaggerate NOT!

  17. bkworm says:

    Oops, I, too have been guilty but only once when all other toilets were locked. And it was an emergency – couldn’t hold it anymore.

  18. fin says:

    I hate public restrooms!

  19. BawangMerah says:

    Peter: I dont drive so I’ve never parked in a disabled parking lot. In my case, I had a bladder that was about to explode and all the urinals were full including the toilets.

    But after you asked about the parking lot it made me think again. The places allocated for the disabled are the only ones they have. If those are used by somebody else, what would they do if they needed to use them. Like lets say i’m taking this big dump in a disabled toilet. Then Peter comes wanting to take a dump too. He can’t use the other toilets. Whereas if I had waited, someone would have come out and I could have gone to that toilet.

    So he has to wait for me. And let’s presume I kept the toilet clean. What if the toilet is extremely dirty after I left. Imagine what Peter would feel like. OK imagine if all the toilets are full, you need to take a dump, and this guys comes out of the toilet, and when you enter it is in the most terrible of conditions. Of course you could run your way to the next floor or the next McD, but could a disabled people do the same?

    You made me think Peter. Something I usually dont do :P

    Note: I’ve tried not to offend anyone. So don’t take anything that feels offensive as .. uhm well offensive eh.

  20. KY says:

    amazing means suanie was lazy to read the whole post and preferred just to leave a neutral comment that doesn’t mean anything. :/

    I do use the disable’s toilet at office sometimes tho.. i’m guess i’m a little guilty of that even though it’s not a public place.

  21. Acrix says:

    Yor post reminded of my lecturer (perfectly normal fella except that he;s bit old) who alwayz frequent the disabled toilet. So i started to wonder if there;s any disability that;s covered within his pants :P keke~

    It;s ashamed to admit i;ve used it once becoz i;m curious bout how it feel to use the disabled toilet :) I even took photo of it and the cleaner kinda laugh at me :S One thing i can say is that it;s clean, spacious and offer more privacy~ Oh, there;s even a shower unit inside!

  22. CW says:

    Well, if people absolutely positively must use the disabled toilet, at least don’t make a horrendous mess! I can see that in dire emergencies there *may* be a justification, but be mindful of others… I always find it strange (and sad) how Malaysians can be such humble, polite, wonderful people, and yet lack this basic courtesy when using public facilities. (As for non-disabled people using disabled parking spots, there is no excuse, IMHO.)

  23. Peter says:

    Life Feel,
    Even when it was obviously stated that those seat were reserved for the elderly, pregnant and disabled, people still ignore it. It is such a shame that we have becom a shameless society.

    LcF,
    That is the mentality I mentioned: I used it just because it was there and no disabled was in sight. In my opinion, that is a lame excuse.

    lucia,
    i have even stopped getting people who fetch me to park their car at the disabled parking because I realised that those are for disabled drivers, not disabled passengers.

    suanie,
    Still, there are a lot of caring Malaysians out there. It is the handful who are giving everybody else a bad name.

    NSDS3,
    We need more people like you. :D

    Tinkerbell,
    Mother with prams are the exception. Many times, I have had to search several floors in a big shopping complex for a disabled toilet that is clean or not vandalised with my bladdder screaming for release.

    percolator,
    Just one question: What would you have done if you really need to go, there is a long queue and there are no disabled toilets in sight?

    bkworm, :|

    fin,
    Hmm…

    BawangMerah,
    I am glad you are seeing it from the point of view of a disabled. I could not have explained it better. Thank you.

    I have this thing against wet toilet floors because my hands, while propelling the chair, will somehow come into contact with whatever the wheels have come into contact with. Imagine 30 perfectly-able people using the disabled toilets throughout the day. The janitors have to continuously clean the toilets and the floors will be wet all the time. Add to that people who have bad aims and leave a mess in there after they are done and you can imagine what my hands will be touching.

    KY, :|

    Acrix,
    It was clean because not many people have used it. If every Muthu, Ahmad and Ah Lian gives justification on why they are entitled to use a disabled toilet, I am certain it would not have been so.

    CW,
    You are so absolutely right. See my reply to BawangMerah. I was at Jusco Mid Valley last Tuesday. On the disabled toilet floor were signs that it was not properly cleaned after someone took a dump all over it. The rest I leave to your imagination. Thank you for understanding what people like me have to go through.

  24. percolator says:

    peter,
    In the scenario you mentioned, I obviously will have NO CHOICE. Suffer the humiliation, and curse my bad luck, pretend (yes delusion is also the mother of invention) I was the Invisible Woman and somehow hope to make it to a loo withpt leaving too gory a a trail of blood that people would think “Oh, someone injured him’herself! Exagheration? NOPE. You’ve read how 2 of your fellow femes bloggers bleed heavily, I’m sure.
    My turn:
    Peter, what would YOU do if you were ABLE, menstruating and having sticky smelly blood threatening to flow allthe way from your thighs to our feet, or cramped over with cold sweat and runny poo about to slide down your legs, wearing a skirt, tottering on high heels, handbag slung over shoulder and maybe holding a shooping bag or two, and bent over with cramps, praying fervently.. “oh, please dear God let me find a toilet, any toilet quick.
    Tell honestly, you WOULD ABSOLUTELY NOT enter the first toilet you come to, which so happens to be a disabled toilet.
    OK, perhaps asking you to imagine being a female MAY be asking too much. Maybe asking you to feel for another woman in that condtion may be stretching your capacity for imagination or for compassion. So how about: Imagine Wuan (try, you love her, you can!)in my place instead. Would you insist she goes offf searching for a normal loo? Can you watch her suffer and struggle through that humiliation and indignity of being a public spectacle NEEDLESSLY?

  25. Marita Paige says:

    Wow. What a cascade of comments over toilets. First off, disable parking and toilets are there for a reason. If we’re not disabled, then we’re not entitled to them. And no, uncontrollable bodily functions are not a disability.

    And on the comment before this, all I can say is, I never leave home without emergency implements for that time of the month. Accidents happen. So if I find any trickling of any sort down my thighs, then it’s my own fault. End of story.

    cheez.

  26. percolator says:

    Reverse discrimination? If it’s uncontrollable, is it not disabling, even temporarily.
    May the good lord have mercy on those of us ill-prepared, imperfect, undeserving sub-humans who cannot control their bodily functions and hormones. Undeserving of human compassion. Wherefore charity as a UNIVERSAL, undiscriminating virtue? I’m hell-bound, it would seem for being disabled by menses and diarrhoea. Truly sad. If having compassion means you can bear seeing the woman or daughter or sister you profess to care about scurrying pitifully, painfully, trailing blood ansd shit, a pathetic spectacle, in search of a toilet. Serves her right for being ill-prepared!!

  27. percolator says:

    What a wonderful world we live in!

  28. LiLi says:

    In Australia, if someone who does not have the legal right to use ‘disabled’ parking, ie those without proper ‘stickers’ on their car are fined heavily. AND I totally agree with them. (Life for a disabled is hard enough, they deserve any little extra privileges.)

    Peter’s example says very well to other non-Malaysians how un-civic minded we Malaysians are. I have heard from a number of non-Malaysians and (without fail) cringed inwardly when they inform me how Malaysians always use the excuse – “we are a developing country, therefore we have an excuse to be rude and not learn to queue, spit in public, throw rubbish wherever we want and lack of compassion to fellow men”. I do not think a country needs to be considered ‘developed’ to have little ‘rules’ for good manners and compassion.

    Peter, in regards to that lady who wanted to use that, i would have told her politely but firmly that she had to wait for her turn, unless it was an emergency. Heck, for everyone waiting to use the toilet, it is ALWAYS going to be an emergency, why then would we use public toilts in Malaysia then? It’s not like it is a great place to hang out! Perhaps, that old lady could have asked the those at the front of the queue for the non-disabled toilets if she could use the toilet as it was an emergency. Remember, there are lots of young kids who also use the toilets, and what great example are we showing them???

    Of course, there are going to be grey areas – eg those highlighted by percolator. However, based on the situation that Peter mentioned in his blog, that lady did not deserve to use the ‘disabled’ toilet.

  29. Peter says:

    percolator,
    We can all give justification on why we are entitled to use disabled toilets. The gist of this all is disabled toilets were built for a specific purpose. And now they are locked because of constant abuse by people who do not really need the facilities.

    Marita,
    I see it that way too. Why should I, a medically certified disabled, have to be prepared with diapers and everything when I go out only to have to fight with the able-bodied for a toilet that was specifically built to cater to people like me. If I can be prepared, I do not see why people with fully functioning faculties cannot. If you fail to plan, especially knowing it is that time of the month, who should you blame except yourself?

    LiLi,
    Regarding the lady, her friends walked into the normal toilet while she insisted it was all right for her to use the disabled toilet. It shows our mentality when toilets have to be locked to prevent such abuses.

  30. percolator says:

    peter,
    Clearly, you’re wriggling out of the issue by evading my question. It’s about compassion and the courage to be honest with our human selves. Able or disabled we are all capable of that. “For it is in giving that you receive..” The disabled do not lose their God-given capacity for that. I now realise how blessed I am that my other deaf, retarded and lame friends do not feel that way you do. At the same time, I fervently hope you are not suggesting I ABUSE those facilities.
    Finally, please do forgive my forthrightness, I do have a tendency to call a spade a spade.

  31. Peter says:

    percolator,
    My stand and your stand are at opposite ends. There is nothing to wriggle out of because I cannot accept your justification. I would also like to point out that your deaf, retarded and lame friends may not need to use a disabled toilet. Therefore there is no way they can fully understand the needs of a person in a wheelchair with spinal cord injury.

  32. lynnee says:

    my ex used to say, dementia is a form of handicap… thus he’s entitle to use disabled toilet & park at disabled lots.

    that’s how twisted some malaysian can be.

    shame shame.

  33. Tinkerbell says:

    Percolator,
    I do not know of anyone in my acquaintance who would not have used the disabled toilet in your dire situation. And I have a highly respectable, educated and CIVIC-MINDED social circle.

    Needless to say, I too would have done the same in your shoes.

    Peter,
    Believe it or not, I can now understand your very strong feelings on the issue. It is water torture for you because you have had to put up with dirty floors time after time after time, until you are ready to scream out loud and go mad.

    I am sure though, that if you were to sit back and look at the whole picture in a more holistic frame of mind, you will find you simply cannot exercise a blanket rule without considering the merits of each case.

    Think of the starving man who stole a loaf of bread from an open, unattended shop window.

    Is he is guilty of the crime of theft? Of course he is!

    How many people would have the strength to resist that loaf of bread? I do not know of any.

    Should the starving thief be sent to jail? In 18th century England, they banished him to Australia.

    What about 21st century Malaysia?

  34. Peter says:

    lynnee,
    People will always give justification to abuse amenities they are not entitled to use. The mentality is that if I do not get caught, it is all right. This is so sad, isn’t it?

    Tinkerbell,
    I am perfectly tolerant of people who need to use disabled toilets in emergencies. However, what annoys me is the smugness in announcing to the whole world that one is entitled to use such facilities time and again, especially in events that have been foreseen and should have been prepared for.

    Take your analogy of the hungry thief for example. To steal once is bad enough but to steal again and again by giving the excuse that one is hungry is totally not acceptable. The answer there is go find work. If one refuses to find work but insists that it is all right to repeatedly steal to appease one’s hunger, then that fellow deserves whatever punishment the law is going to impose on him.

  35. LecturerUM says:

    There are facilities that are enjoyed by all people, such as lifts, accessible ramps, low counters, automatic sliding doors, audio announcements in lifts, and others.

    There are facilities that should only be used by disabled people, such as accessible toilets* and accessible carpark.

    If non-disabled people use them, it is an act of abuse, because the act is ‘improper and insulting to disabled people’.

    The accessible toilets and accessible carpark was designed with the correct sizes and provisions in order for disabled person to participate and function in civic life, in a meaningful and dignified way. There is an extra 1.2 meters banding at the side of the carpark lot so that a wheelchair can be manouvered. There is a 1.5 meters radius minimum in a disabled toilet, for the same reason, for example.

    A wheelchair user IS NOT ABLE TO USE a toilet without the correct size. The accessible toilet was DESIGNED FOR the disabled user.

    Remember that, a person with kidney problems will have his/her condition worsened if he/she delay in using the toilet. A person with chronic arthritis have to endure prolonged pain when he/she does not get to sit immediately.

    It is a basic right to have these facilities, not a luxury.

    Don’t correct the disabled person, correct the disabling environment and attitude!

    * (Some accessible toilets could be equipped with nappy changing facilities, if there is lack of space.)

  36. Peter says:

    LecturerUM,
    It is difficult enough to be looking all over the place for a disabled toilet that is in working condition. Now we have to contend with able-bodied people who insist on using a disabled toilet and demand compassion from the disabled. The mentality here is that we have been disabled for so long that inconveniencing us a little more would not make much difference anyway.

    It is good that you pointed out that people with a spastic bladder and chronic kidney failure need to empty their bladders on schedule. I need to do that and it always had been a frustrating experience looking from floor to floor for one that is clean, not wet and working, and NOT occupied by an able-bodied person.

    Whenever I go out, I always allocate enough time for those routines before my scheduled time to catheterise. I just cannot understand why some people would want to wait until there is an extreme urgency before deciding they need to use a toilet and kick up a fuss when a disabled person points out to them that whatever is behind that big door with the disabled person’s logo was not meant for their use. I guess dignity ranks higher than a pair of compromised kidneys that needs delicate care.

  37. LecturerUM says:

    Peter and others,

    I would like to suggest that we start a ‘Culture of Complaint’.

    Complaint is defined as an “…act or statement to express dissatisfaction at something…”

    Whenever I went to shopping complexes or any buildings in Malaysia, I start ‘access auditing’ the place in my mind and if I come across a problem, ie the lack of disabled toilets, disabled toilets cannot work, or has been used as a storage area, or the lack of parking for the disabled person, I would either go to the reception counter and tell them (which is the least effective), or write a note of complaint and give to the reception (works some time), or write an extensive letter to the Managing Director or Property Manager (usually works, cause I sound like as if I am going to write to STAR or NST or even worse, Malay Mail, if they did not do something, ESPECIALLY when I take a photo of the problem and show to them). That usually nails it!

    At the beginning, it was usually a bad feeling of anger and disgust accompanying my complaints, but after being used to doing it, it is just a job. Because we have to do it. We have to press for change and don’t give up.

    I hope everyone who is concerned could start doing this, cause we can debate about this all we like but we have got to ‘put the money where our mouth is.’ And start a Culture of Complaint.

  38. Peter says:

    LecturerUM,
    I seldom complain. I blogged about it mostly. Perhaps now I should also write letters to the people concerned. Thank you for the idea.

  39. jessi says:

    The Malaysian mentality – to heck with the rest as long as it does not inconvenient myself. There were many a time when I have seen people parking in the handicapped parking lots as the parking was full. Even at times when it was not full due to available parking was quite far from the entrance. What can I say….people who park there are handicapped as well – the mentally handicapped ones.

  40. JC says:

    Hi. What I am about to say is not about to be liked by most people. I am not here to argue with anyone. Everyone has clearly made up their minds already, and I don’t suppose anyone would change their attitudes after reading my simple message. However, I hope open-minded people would enjoy knowing about the wide variety of opinions no matter whether they agree with it or not.

    In a civil society, we share resources, and ensure that minorities’ needs are not left out. To this end, we try to accommodate disabled people, by building disabled facilities, so that they may lead life in the dignified manner that they deserve. Economically speaking, this is a drain on the resources of the majority. In the case of toilets, less than 1% of users are eligible for the disabled toilets, while the cost of such facilities is at least 10% that of a larger ordinary toilet. I have no figures to back up this statement, but it does illustrate the point. How about those extremely expensive lifts for the disabled? In all my years, I have never seen anyone used them on the underground (subway). Does that mean they are a waste of money? Of course not! If one person needs it, that is enough. Morally speaking, we know it is the right thing to do. We live in a world of compassion, and we aid those who are less fortunate.

    Having said all this, we should not forget the rights of the majority as well. Women are often disadvantaged when it comes to toilet ratios. Although this matter should be addressed directly by rebalancing the ratio of toilets allocated to females, let us not go into that at the moment. Why should the disabled toilet be solely reserved for the disabled even when it is rarely used? Why should the majority be inconvenienced and stand in a queue for 10-20 mins when a disabled toilet is left vacant and unused?

    Disabled people are just like anyone else. Some are egocentric and think the world owes them everything. Most are kind hearted and reasonable people. In the event that a disable person approaches an occupied toilet, I suppose they would not mind waiting a mere few minutes, if by doing so, they have helped alleviate a queuing problem. Exceptional cases includes those with renal problems. Which leads to an interesting situation: How can one tell if a person who walks out of a disabled toilet is not entitled to it. He or she could have a renal problem, and should be given priority over a person in a wheel chair, who can certainly wait without leaking fluids all over the floor. Are we sometimes jumping to the wrong conclusion? Maybe we should not judge a person so quickly.

    Carrying on, I would like to ask readers not to jump to analogies such as disabled car park spaces. Waiting 1 hour for someone to return to a car park space certainly is not the same category as a few minutes in the case of toilets.

    I want to end by supporting the author’s original entry. I sympathise with his / her predicament. It is completely objectionable that able bodied people should abuse disabled facilities. They should be as quick as possible, and ensure that it is complete spotless. Depending on the degree of disability, many cannot manoeuvre themselves away from the filth. If a person is not willing to clean up, then they shouldn’t use those toilets at all. They should just queue up. I truly hope that society would wake up and carefully consider the consequences of their actions. We should all fight against the abuse of disabled toilets.

    Actually, what prompted me to write was not the discussion on disabled toilets. I don’t use them period, so this is not something close to my heart. However an entry about sitting at disabled seats on public transportation angered me. The author seemed to suggest that these seats must be left free. This is ridiculous. Why should the able bodied stand when a seat is available. We all contributed (through taxation) to that seat. If there are no disabled people around, I see no reason why those seats cannot be occupied until the needy shows up. Those are priority seats, not privileged seats. We live in a classless society, where no one should be privileged / under-privileged.

    That’s my opinion on the topic. By the way, I am an able bodied male, who sympathise with the plight of the disabled, as well as the unfair toilet ratios for women. However, I also believe in the rights of the majority, and that every individual has a responsibility to look after each other: this includes minorities helping out the majority. So when their facilities are unused, they should be shared (in my view).

  41. JC says:

    I just read some of LecturerUM’s stuff, and I have to say I completely agree with many of his points. Well said. The issue on disabled toilets is not clear cut. I think I made some valid statements, but I also liked his many excellent points too. Certainly, except under very rare circumstances, disabled toilets should not be used by the able bodied. I hope we can appreciate each other’s points of views and come to a compromise.

  42. JC says:

    To: Peter

    Read your message: “I am perfectly tolerant of people who need to use disabled toilets in emergencies. However, what annoys me is the smugness in announcing to the whole world that one is entitled to use such facilities time and again, especially in events that have been foreseen and should have been prepared for.”

    I sort of just did that. Hope I didn’t offend you. Look, when it comes to toilets, I really do agree with what you are saying, believe me. And after considering what you said, I agree it is wrong to use the disabled toilet, simply because of a queue. So I take back what I said, about toilets and queues and what not. I don’t think I can ever put myself in your situation to understand the impact this has on you.

    I will certainly speak on your behalf, the next time this topic comes up elsewhere. You have certainly educated me today. Thanks.