Signs of Civilization

We all love lists they are saying on TV at the moment. Here's a partial list of things that E@L considers fairly essential if you want to call a country civilized.

1: Flushing toilets. Dipping the hand-bucket into that water reservoir for a coupla 2 pint flushes is just not on.

2: Flushing toilets you can sit upon. Squatting in a toilet where you have take your pants off and hang them (on a hook behind the door if you're in a classy place, or over our shoulder if you're not) to avoid getting someone else's footprinted excreta on your tailored crotch is not on. Plus with my sore, knee, my high centre of gravity, and the size of my thighs, I don't DO squatting.

3: Flushing toilets that you sit on that have toilet paper. I am not scraping dingleberries from my arse with the middle finger of my left hand merely to satisfy some local religious imperative. What happens if I have the inevitable Doha-belly squitters? I am left-handed for eating and I wipe my arse with my right hand. This is not negotiable. If you want me to eat with you in public, get me back to the Sheraton (or equivalent) when I need a crap. Atheists use toilet paper. You have a problem with that? Spend some of the billions you make daily in oil revenue on modern plumbing.

4: Flushing toilets that you sit on that have toilet paper and that accept that toilet paper, post-functional application, back into the bowl to be flushed away. Placing a large part of the indigestible left-overs of yesterdays dinner and a few million associated bacteria, as removed from the environs of your arse after a good squitty shit, into a fly-blown bin beside the toilet is just NOT FUCKING ON! (See above RE: modern plumbing.)

5: Toilets that do not have a moat. Wading through a coupla centimetres deep water (as I have done in the Intensive Care [Expensive Neglect] Unit of a "major" hospital in some place that is Truly Asia) with your socks in your pocket is not on.

6: Toilets floors that are not sloshed with more muddy water every 20 minutes in lieu of an adequate hygienic mopping. "Wet" does not equal "clean". Hong Kong, I am talking to you.

7: Public washrooms that have soap. Properly clean the excreta off your hands before you touch the door knob and pass on *your* germs and pick up those of others.

8: Public washrooms that have soap and hand towels. Dry your hands before you touch the door knob, etc. A good place where this might have once helped is The Prince Of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong, THE WORLD epicentre hospital just as the SARS crisis was peaking. I kid you not: I visited this hospital on the day before all our company's hospital visits were banned, and in the pediatric department's public access toilets there were no facilities - toilet paper, soap, hand towels, disinfectant... The Doctor rightly refused to shake my hand.

9: Public washrooms where people don't rinse out their mouths and drink the water from the tap after having had a piss or a shit using the facilities. I just feel sick watching people do this, considering in most of the washrooms on my beat at least one of the above criteria is not met.

10: Water from the tap is potable. For visitors anyway. In the privacy of your hotel or apartment it is acceptable to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth. In public it is, I repeat, gross.

11: Taxis are available after dark.

12: Taxis are available after dark and stop when you hail them.

13: The current leader is not a blood relative of any previous and living leaders.

14: The current leader is not a blood relative of any previous and living leaders and not a ludicrously ridiculous hand-puppet.

15: The current leader is not a blood relative of any previous and living leaders and not a ludicrously ridiculous hand-puppet of that ex-leader whom everyone knows is actually still running things.

16: The regional newspaper does not consider any junkets to Las Vegas by the ex-leader who is still actually running things to be "International News". Nor would it use up 50% of the limited space made available between advertisements in its "International News" section for photographs and nauseatingly partisan reporting of said junket of said previous leader who is actually still running things.

17: Bread from a bakery has a discernibly firmer crust than the bread pulp inside. Chemicals are not added to the bread to prevent a firm crust forming as this might damage the teeth and gums of generations of people who have NEVER brushed their filthy, deformed, yellow teeth.

18: Diet drinks are available freely. Try getting a diet coke in a street stall in Bangkok or anywhere in Vietnam. Try getting a COLD diet coke! Try getting a cold *BEER* (without ice)! Mind you, the bread is good.

19: Breakfast buffets in hotels offer a range of cereals beyond Kellogg's Corn Flakes and Chocolate Crispies.

20: CNN on cable TV does not have a 15 second voice delay. Criticisms of the government by foreign news services (press or television) probably represents only a miniscule scraping off the surface of the true level of graft and corruption that goes on - limiting its exposure to foreigners in hotels does *not* raise your government's credibility. Quite the opposite.


... I could just go on all freaking night, but I need sleep. Any further suggestions? Put 'em up. I'll get back here eventually.

That's right, there's only a day to go before I head off to Saaarth Effrica mun... Then there will be a ten/twelve day blogging blackout unless I get Internet access bouncing off some zebra's arse.



Posted by: expat@large on Nov 09, 06 | 12:35 am | Profile


I see you had a lovely experience with the Malaysian bathrooms during your trip. *grin*

Number one to ten describes them perfectly. Enjoy South Africa.

Posted by: VirginPornStar on Nov 09, 06 | 1:53 pm

Forget to mention about the guy using the floor mop as a plunger to clean those stubborn stains from the inside of the toilet recepticle...

This was in KLConventionCentre, a REALLY classy "civilized" place!

Eyes roll white.

Ta (Australian for "thanks" I had to explain to the shop assistants at Tangs the other day) exVPS, I'll be thinking of you (or someone close to you) when I take photos of those zebra's arses...

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 09, 06 | 5:31 pm

You think of people when you take photo's of arses??? I wonder who you will think of if you ever take a photo of a really cute set of tight female buns? ~grin~

Posted by: Indiana on Nov 10, 06 | 9:19 am


Most of what you say is true!

But, man, washed bums are far ahead of paper wiped ones!

Well, so I am told.

Posted by: markeast on Nov 10, 06 | 10:16 am

I retched when I read this post. Thanks.

Posted by: Hairydonut2 on Nov 10, 06 | 5:20 pm

HD: 1 to 10 or 11 to 20?

Posted by: knobby on Nov 13, 06 | 10:23 pm

I think it was 1 to 10. I can' t think back too hard or I'll retch again. The rest of it I'm used to.

Posted by: Hairydonut2 on Nov 15, 06 | 4:18 pm

Loved this post... I completely agree, especially the bathroom stuff- love coming back to a normal western toiley!

I tried to link to this post from my blog, but the trackback didn't work- do you have a permanent link I could use? I'm not sufficiently computer savvy to do better, I'm afraid!


Posted by: mmqc on Nov 20, 06 | 6:24 pm

I forgot to mention those dangling hoses with the squirt nozzles on the end.

What are you supposed to do with them? Give yourself an enema?

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 23, 06 | 4:40 pm


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