Some months ago I read an article about the toilet facilities provided during the Beijing Olympics were upsetting Westerners because most of the sporting arenas had squat- rather than western toilets. I seriously don't get it. WHO wants western toilets in a country where 1.3 billion people prefer to squat?! Who wants to sit on a toilet seat that is covered with soil? Who? And why?
Going to a public toilet (especially those in Shanghai shopping malls) as a girl is never a pleasant experience. I can only speak for the girl's loos because I haven't peeked into the men's room, so if someone (preferably a man) wants to share their experiences -please, go ahead. Anyways, back to the girl's room. It's always the same story. You walk into a toilet area full of 'really-have-to-go-girls' and start off by engaging in the 'toilet hunt' game. Forget lining up. Even if you came in last you can go first, if you are quick enough. You just have to sneak into one of the booths as soon as someone walks out of it. Let me emphasize the words: 'AS SOON AS,' because in this case, you should be very 'soon'! First one to the booth = first one to pee. Basic mathematics. Simple rules.
I used to suck at the 'toilet hunt' game but lately I have gotten much better. Especially if I really need to pee, man, then I can be I total bitch. But so many girls have 'stolen' the booth I've been waiting for before so I have stopped feeling bad about it. Only once, when I without thinking skipped the whole line at the airport in Seoul and just walked into a booth did I experience a 'what the hell am I doing?!' moment -but well, it only happened once, so I believe I can live with that. (I guess I should watch myself when I go back to Sweden this summer, though. If I don't remember things wrong you might get executed for cutting line there. No kidding).
Now, while getting into your peeing space might be easy (once you understand the game rules. And really, -new female expats in Shanghai, don't waste time on being polite!) -the actual peeing is a whole different story. Especially if it is a western toilet with a toilet seat ring.
I used to have problems with squat toilets before due to a over-stiff ankle as a result of a broken foot (which -resulted in an inability to squat!) but now the ankle has loosened up and so have I. I don't even mind simply 'hole in the ground' toilets anymore (sure they stink but I am not going into, or even touching the hole am I?). What I mind, however, is western toilets in China, because Chinese girls tend to use them as squat loos -meaning: they climb up on the toilets and squat on the toilet seat. The result: soil and pee all over the place.
I don't blame them. I have personally never tried to squat on a western toilet seat but just the thought of it makes me exhausted. Obviously not every single Chinese girl climb up and squat on a western toilet, but from what I've heard from my Chinese friends -they do refuse to touch the seat with their bum, hence the result of soil everywhere. Sure, there are many western girls leaving stains too, but in general I think the dirtiness of the female loos are a result of girls trying to squat on the toilet seat ring. The fact that I have seen several foot print on toilet seat rings is enough evidence to me.
Another thing is the flushing. I know that some squat toilets have an automatic flush function and I LOVE THIS FUNCTION. What I don't love, however, are people who simply do their dirty business and then walk out without even thinking about flushing. Seriously -we are talking about pushing a button or pulling a string here: it doesn't require that much effort! Still, so many girls don't bother. Very often it is one of those 'princess girls', dressed in pink, sky high heels and all made up who leaves it up to me to flush down her business. Gross!
I guess I could from here go onto the often over flowing paper basket next to the loo, but well, let's just stop it right here and now. Most girls know what I talk about anyways if I say that toilets in China are in desperate need of a sanitary box!
The point that I want to make is: why are they even building western toilets in China when Chinese people obviously prefer squatting toilets? Squat toilets (especially those with the automatic flush function) are often much cleaner than western toilet loos? Westerners complaining about having to squat at the toilets in Beijing during the Olympic Games should actually be grateful. They don’t know what they are ‘missing out on.’