World Toilet Day: Loo-Themed Treats And Loco Toilet Trivia That Will Bowl You Over
Singapore is known for many different things – from being a garden city to having a hawker culture that’s recognised by the Unesco Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
But did you know that we are also responsible for World Toilet Day, which falls on Nov 19?
It all started with one Jack Sim who established the Restroom Association of Singapore in 1998. In 2001, he founded the World Toilet Organization. His vision: to create a world where everyone has access to a clean, safe toilet.
Then, in 2013, Mr Sim and our Ministry of Foreign Affairs convinced the United Nations General Assembly to designate Nov 19 as the UN World Toilet Day.
You may be thinking, eww, is there nothing better to do but talk about toilets?
Don’t laugh, okay. While you whine about how your home toilet is not designer-chic enough, about 2 billion people around the world do not even have a properly built toilet in or near their homes, according to the World Health Organization.
Instead, the majority of these folks have to defecate in the open, and without proper washing facilities at that, making them very vulnerable to diseases like cholera and dysentery.
It gets more sh*tty for the children and women who are easily harassed and attacked (by both animals and humans) while they go about their business. As a result, many choose to hold it in which leads to a host of other health issues like UTIs.
So, the next time you complain about how your folks bought two-ply instead of three-ply, don’t and instead be grateful for the decent sanitation facilities in Singapore.
And while we’ve still got you on the bowl, here are some wacky tributes to toilets around the world.
Modern Toilet Restaurant
If you say the food here is like crap, the owners will probably be piss happy because everything at this controversial restaurant chain is toilet-themed. We are talking about tea served in mini toilet bowls, soft serve ice cream – chocolate-flavoured some more! – shaped like turd, and main courses like curry or fried chicken plated in even more toilet bowls.
This concept is so popular that it has spawned a few copycats all over the world – from California to nearby JB – but sai, their shuttered businesses have since been flushed down the bowl.
Toilet paper roll cake
Still on toilet-themed food: a scroll through Instagram will throw up a sh*tload of posts on cakes shaped like toilet paper rolls. Inspired by the infamous toilet paper shortage during last year’s circuit breaker, homegrown bakery chain Breadtalk had also launched a toilet paper roll cake which was actually honey marble cake with butter cream. And in true everything-also-so-hard-to-find-in-2020 fashion, this was sold at only three of its outlets islandwide.
The Toto here does not refer to the 1970s American rock band or that weekly thing some of us like to bet our entire month’s Gojek allowance on. It refers to the Japanese brand of sanitaryware founded in 1917.
The TOTO Museum in Fukuoka, Japan showcases its history as well as a lot of real toilet bowls that were designed and sold throughout the decades, including one bizarre Toilet Bike that cancels out the need for road trip toilet breaks. Be prepared to be, well, bowled over.
Mr Toilet House
We aren’t really sure why it takes two Sims to found the World Toilet Organization (that’s our own Singaporean Jack Sim) and also the World Toilet Association (Mr Sim Jae-deok).
But what we know is the latter Mr Sim, a Korean, built his house in Suwon City to look like a toilet bowl because he wanted to celebrate the establishment of his association. He even named it haewoojae which translates loosely into something like “a house to relieve one’s concerns”.
After he passed away, the house was donated to the city and it has since become a tourist attraction.
Lagunasia “Horror! Hanako-san of the Toilet”
In Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, when authorities encouraged no screaming on roller coasters (to prevent COVID-19 spittle in the air), theme park Lagunasia had to pivot. They launched a toilet attraction – it was “haunted” by the ghost of a girl – that allowed only one guest in at a time. Talk about safe distancing measures!