You know shit’s gotten out of hand when the World Toilet Organization steps in. WTO’s Singapore founder, Jack Sim Ruihua, decided it was time to address the latest blowup between the mainland and Hong Kong that began when a couple from the mainland allowed their toddler to squat down and do her business in a busy Mong Kok street, resulting in some weird/gross protests on either side of the proverbial piss stream.
Sim called on Hong Kong to help mainlanders understand the importance of hygiene (a similar suggestion was given by prominent Chinese author Bi Feiyu in an interview urging Hongkongers to “be more tolerant towards the mainland people, who, for their part, should enhance their code of conduct”). He suggested that his organization could help create a public education campaign.
“Public education at points of entry could be useful,” he said. “Make the message clear that people will die if they keep doing that,” he was quoted as saying in an SCMP report. “The flies will go to the poop and spread disease.”
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.”
By the way, if you weren’t aware that the World Toilet Organization was a thing, it is. It’s linked to some pretty serious organizations including the United Nations Environment Program, the Asian Development Bank and the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation.
Then again, you probably didn’t know that World Toilet Day exists either.