Monday, July 23, 2007
posted by PabloPabla at 4:16 pm

The recent news on approximately 170 school girls being forced to dunk themselves in a fish pond has brought much attention on the appropriateness or rather, disproportionate and humiliating punishment meted out by the school warden on the school girls. According to the warden, some girls have repeatedly thrown their used sanitary pads into the toilet bowls of the school's toilet thus clogging them. Warnings given were not heeded and thus, the controversial punishment. The school warden's action is now under investigation by the Sibu divisional education office and there are even calls for the warden's dismissal.

Granted, I don't think for a moment that the punishment meted out is fair or just as innocent girls are being punished together with the real culprits. It is better for a culprit to go scot free than to punish an innocent person for something which the latter did not do. And the manner of the punishment is most humiliating in my opinion. There could be better ways to do it - in consultation with the Parent - Teacher Association. I mean, if the toilets are constantly clogged due to girls throwing their used sanitary pads into the toilet bowls, the parents ought to be informed and a solution should be discussed to overcome this.

Which brings me to this post. What do you throw down the toilet bowl? Toilet paper? Tissue? Used sanitary pads? Cigarette butts? Plastic wraps? Your shoes? An enquiry with a friendly plumber can reveal insights into what is found in clogged toilets. Which then brings me to the next question - what do parents teach their children about toilet habits?

I remember when I was young, my parents educated me on the do's and don'ts of using a toilet especially on what goes into the toilet bowl. I am sure it is also to ensure that I don't start throwing junk (apart from my natural waste) into the toilet bowl and thus, clogging it up and make dad spend money on repairs. Aim properly. Flush after use. Only tissues and toilet paper can be thrown into toilet bowls. Newspapers and magazines are no-nos. And so, what I have been taught stayed with me throughout my growing years and I will definitely teach my children the same things.

Tell me parents, do you tell your daughters not to throw their used sanitary pads into toilet bowls? And if they did, would you not be angry or annoyed? Who wouldn't? Even the next user who needs to answer nature's call would be pissed off (pun intended) at the sight of a pond in the toilet cubicle.

Malaysians are notoriously known for their bad toilet habits. Somehow, a visit to a public toilet (save perhaps to the 5-star hotels) are anticipated with visions of broken taps and flushes, wet floors, offensive smell etc. Schools are not spared. And this really boils down on education, which should start from home. Toilet education is not for teachers alone. Parents must take responsibility as well.

I hope that at the end of the investigation into the actions of the school warden above, a thorough investigation is also made to find out the culprits responsible for clogging up the school's toilet with used sanitary pads. Otherwise, we will all be missing the point on this issue.