From ‘ Mind the gender in toilet cleaning’, 3 Feb 2011, ST Forum online
(Seow Joo Heng): OFTEN, we see female cleaners being employed to clean all toilets, including men’s toilets; and male inspectors inspecting all, including women’s toilets.
Obviously, this arrangement causes inconvenience and embarrassment to both users and cleaners.
Let us give some respect to all, especially the female cleaners, with just a bit of common sense: all cleaning processes involving men’s toilets can be handled by men, and women’s toilets by women.
A counter argument that this will then increase manpower costs should not hold water.
Perhaps instead on complaining about getting caught shaking off the last drops of pee at the urinal by female cleaners one should consider that these workers are picking up our shit after us and it’s unreasonable to expect that, in this line of work with a possibly askew gender distribution, males can only clean male toilets and vice versa for female cleaners. What if there were only one cleaner on shift that day because her male colleague fell sick from clearing up someone’s liquid poo-margeddon the previous night? Would you rather the toilet be left in a state of after-party faecal desecration, shit splattered and compacted that you would need tongs to fish out formidably rock-hard stools or unflushable condoms, swirling with noxious fart vapour so repellent and persistent your 15 minute lunch will taste exactly like the undigested discards of all toilet users combined? You spend no more than 5 minutes doing your business, these folks make sure you don’t slip on urine for more than 8 toxic hours a day. Show some understanding for god’s sake.
It’s a dirty, hazardous job really, and it’s understandable if toilet cleaners are an angry, disgruntled bunch who, being exposed to all manners of excrement, spit and pubic hairs in the course of a day, wouldn’t care less about your modesty even if you’re so well endowed that you have to stand an arm’s length away from the urinal just to relieve yourself. Best pee with caution, you know, adopting the usual stance of head and hands down, not hands behind your head whistling and cooing with pleasure. After all, it’s not just female cleaners one has to watch out for barging into our toilets, it’s also fathers who bring in their girls as well, as seen in this letter ‘Modesty issues at the urinals’, 26 June 2007, Today.