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No toilet humour
by Asa Butcher
2008-11-19 09:11:19
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Yes, today is World Toilet Day. No, the world hasn't gone around the U-bend. Why shouldn't 24-hours of the year be dedicated to the faithful lavatory, loo, WC, khazi, dunny, privy, netty or latrine? Where would we be without it or should I say where would we go? It is an unsung domestic hero that we always hope is flushed with success and never regurgitates anything that it has previously swallowed… god forbid!

wtd_08_logo Okay, I think I have all of the toilet humour out of my cistern, sorry, system, so it is time to get serious and actually think about why the world really needs a day devoted to toilets. Firstly, ask yourself what you would do if you didn't have access to a toilet. We have all experienced an uncomfortable day when the home toilet was out-of-action and we impatiently awaited the arrival of a plumber or a wife armed with a plunger - it wasn't fun. What would you do if it was never repaired? Where would you go?

Now imagine that your neighbours are in the same s(h)ituation and you don't have any access to working sanitation. To what ends would you resort? Would you defecate in the garden, dig a hole or fill a carrier bag? Could you do that every day of the year? Two years? For life? I do hope you aren't smirking at this scenario because 2.6 billion - yes, billion - people are suffering discomfort and disease due to the lack of proper sanitation in Third World countries.

Approximately 40% of the current global population has never experienced a working toilet and sanitation related diseases, such as diarrhoea, annually kills almost two million children, while millions more suffer illness due to the contamination of ground water. Let's not ignore the fact that open defecation impugns the basic rights and dignity of those who are forced to do it - I bet you aren't laughing at the idea of World Toilet Day now.

The founder of World Toilet Day is the World Toilet Organization (WTO), a global non-profit organisation founded in 2001 that is committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. Today they count 120 member organisations in 47 countries working towards eliminating a cultural toilet taboo and delivering sustainable sanitation to the billions of people suffering.

Here at Ovi we often bring attention to many of the problems facing the world, such as hunger, war and domestic violence, but to know that millions of children are dying merely because they don't have proper toilet facilities defies belief. It is an environmental and health issue that can almost be overshadowed by the weight of the world's other problems, but it is reassuring that there are organisations such as WTO that provide a platform for this.

The theme for 2008 is "WE DESERVE BETTER" and it encompasses three "WE"s:

  • 1. TOILETS: World Toilet Organization has always been trying to make toilet a desirable object to discourage open defecation, and so WTO feels that toilets deserve better social status.
  • 2. CLEANERS: WTO aims to professionalize the sanitation and restroom industry and toilet cleaners deserve better pay, respect and prospects
  • 3. 2.5 Billion Toilet-less People: The 2.5 billion toilet-less people around the world deserve better place to defecate --- a toilet

There is something terribly simple about solving this problem, but the huge numbers affected almost make it seem insurmountable. WTO not only campaign for monetary donations, but also request large numbers of hygiene products and even slippers because bare-footed children risk contracting germs and other diseases while defecating in open.

Upon first hearing about World Toilet Day you may have been like me and laughed, but further research has revealed that there is no 'toilet humour' here. The toilet is a household object that we all take for granted and for one day of the year it worth stopping to think of the billions of people who have never used a working toilet and probably never will.

World Toilet Organization

Finland's member of the WTO:

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Get it off your chest
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Sand2008-11-19 09:47:45

The evacuations of a nation
Deserve clear contemplation
Disregarding prim aesthetic tastes.
For the rapid disposition
Guaranteeing good condition
Involves a quick remove of human wastes.
From the bowl that holds our soup
To the one that takes our goop
Is a path that leads directly through our gut.
So let’s celebrate the toilet.
Do not denigrate or spoil it
With recrimination or a reluctant butt.

Emanuel Paparella2008-11-19 11:50:18
The above piece in tandem with Thanos artistic work is confirmation that Danto may have it on target: anything, even a brillo box or a toilet can become poetical and therefore a work of art via the imagination of the artist and the viewer. Some will see humor and some will see tragedy and that makes all the difference; for they are different poetics. Indeed, even emperors and powerful presidents sit on that humble throne thus revealing a reality of human nature shared with the rest of us commoners. Imaginative presidents and emperors would recognize that simple reality as a first step to make sure that, like defecation itself, the possession of that humble throne ought to be universal.

Sand2008-11-19 14:30:09
Though it’s not Duncan Phyffe
It’s critical to life
To utilize this curvy construction.
Its porcelain contour
Makes life smooth to endure.
(That’s an obvious deduction.)
So it’s with some dismay
That I view its display
So often as hidden operation.
I’m sure its public use
Performed with no excuse
Would manifest electric sensation.

Sand2008-11-19 15:09:36
The tragedy in toilet
Is precious, do not spoil it
With ribald laughter or just a smile.
Ostensibly to sit on,
It’s use is just to shit on,
A function sometimes seen as vile.
But the problem’s not with crappers,
It’s those sleazy social zappers
Who, with Puritan disdain would sneer
At pale beauty’s dismal duty
Deemed insufficient snooty.
But they’d panic if it would disappear.

AP2008-11-19 17:14:30
Now for the toilets... a leap to the future:




For more toilet humour, check the Modern Toilet Restaurants (Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Japan).

Sand2008-11-19 17:24:50
Anyway it puts a new perspective on the Obama slogan "Yes we CAN".

AP2008-11-20 02:05:05
Hold our breath?

Jack2008-11-21 04:02:29
I can remember a (Wichita, KS) city engineer once say that we flush out more pure drinking water thru the toilet systems in this nation than some nations even have total access to (in water). I think that water is another resource (toilet is useless without it) that many of us (as I do) take for granted, when not even half of the world has easy access to safe drinking water.

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