Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Marco's Way Of Rating Toilets

I just thought of something interesting...After being a hard core toilet fan for so many do I determine if a toilet is up to standard?

I noticed that different people have different ways of determining whether a toilet is up to standard.Some people are very concerned about cleanliness,while others care whether the toilet is old or new.

In this post,I will share with you my way of rating toilets.What type of toilets do I really fancy?Of course,there is no right or wrong.This is a very subjective matter.You may or may not agree with me.

But if you share the same sentiments,then I think we are in the same boat.

Criteria #1:Toilet Bowl

To me,this is the most important thing I look for in all toilets that I visit.If the bowl is screwed up,it affects the overall rating of the toilet.How do I rate the bowls?

The very first thing I look for is congruence.If the toilet is old,then the bowl must also be old.No point having an old toilet with a new bowl.The feeling sucks.It is like asking an old man to dress up like a teenager.

The next thing is whether the bowl is squatting or sitting.Squatting bowls tend to win more favor as compared to sitting ones.I am a great fan of squatting toilets.

Of course,if I were to rate a sitting toilet very high,then that toilet must be really good.

Next is the brand of the bowl.Is it my favorite brand?If it is,the overall rating of the toilet will also go up.

Criteria #2:Flushing System

This is another important thing that I look out for.The toilet's flushing system can affect the flushing sound of the toilet.

If the bowl is a nice brand and the flushing system is screwed up,it can spoil the flushing sound of the toilet bowl.

To me,the high cisterns are the best.They are nice to flush,and they sound the best.There is a climax,and an anti-climax.My favorite cisterns are the Shires Cisterns.In my opinion,they are the best.Nice feel and they are really powerful.

If you love toilets like me,you know what I mean.

The worst flushing systems are those small cisterns with 2 buttons on top.These are the worst.There is always not enough water to flush everything away,and the flushing sound sucks big time.Go try it out and you'll know what I mean.

I really hate these small cisterns with buttons on top.They spoil the flushing sound.No matter how good the toilet bowl is,this cistern will spoil it all.

The next screwed up ones are the sensor flushes.Although they may be cleaner,but their flushing sound sucks big time.They are slightly better than the small cisterns.

Speaking of the high cisterns,there are also 2 types.One with the straight pipe and the other with the twisted pipe.I like both actually.But let me tell you their differences.The staright pipe is more powerful that the twisted pipe,because the water flows down directly.

The reason why I like the twisted pipe is because it looks nicer and it is more uncommon.

Criteria #3:Ambience

The ambience of the toilet gives you a feeling of what type of bowls you can expect to see.Of course,in certain cases,the ambience may be good,but the bowls are all new ones.It can be very disappointing.

Those who score well in toilet bowls will usually score well in ambience.

What do I mean by ambience?Ambience refers to the type of floor tiles,wall tiles,sinks,the layout and the lighting of the toilet.

Toilets with older ambiences usually score better.I am not really a fan of newly renovated toilets.

New toilets only score well if they were built from scratch.Those which are renovated will usually get a lower score than the original old ones.

Criteria #4:Exterior

There is a saying that you can't judge a book by its cover.But let me change that a little bit.You can more or less judge a toilet by its exterior.There is a 70% chance of being right,basing on my experience.

The exterior usually gives away the first impression of the toilet.A nice,old exterior may score better than a newly renovated exterior.Unless it is originally new,then the rating is higher.

There are also cases where the exterior can be misleading.You might see an old exterior with new toilets in it.But most of the time,the exterior can give you a rough gauge of what to expect inside.

Criteria #5:Number Of Cubicles & Layout

The number of cubicles will play an important role if the toilet bowls are my favorite.A toilet will score bonus points if it has a large number of cubicles with my favorite bowls.

An example would be my beloved Jubilee Street Public Toilet in Central,Hong Kong.It has 20 cubicles of squatting Victorys,all with high cisterns.

I really hate those toilets with one cubicle only.Especially those with sucky bowls.They are bound to fail,if I come across them.

Layout is also important.I like toilets with interesting layouts.I noticed that the Public Toilets in Hong Kong have very interesting layouts.You can visit all of them and find that they are mostly different.

My favorite layout would be a row of high cisterns toilets side by side.From outside,it looks like a row of soldiers standing tall.The Shires look the best.A row of Black Beauties.

Another aspect of layout is how many different types of toilet bowls are there in the toilet.I have come across toilets with 3 different types of bowls in one single toilet.That was really impressive.Especially when all the different types of bowls are the brands I like.

In December 2002,I stumbled upon this Public Toilet at Queen's Road East,Hong Kong Island.It had 4 different types of bowl in one toilet.There was the long Squatting Victory(original),pear shaped squatting Victory,pear shaped Armitage Shanks(Singapore style) and lastly squatting American Standard.

I was pleasantly surprised when I went into that toilet.But sad to say,when I visited it again in 2004,it was demolised.The good thing is that I still have some photos of it.You can find it in my earlier posts.

Yet another aspect of layout is how you access the toilet.In a number of public toilets in Hong Kong,you need to climb up the stairs to the 2nd or 3rd floor to access the toilet.For a few rare cases,you need to climb down the stairs as the toilet is underground.

But this is not as important as the number of cubicles and number of types of toilet bowls.

Criteria #6:Cleanliness

I believe cleanliness is very important to the majority.But for me,it is one of the last criteria.It is no use for a toilet to be clean if the bowl and ambience are both screwed up.

But I would not say it is totally unimportant either.When I went to China,that was when I started to appreciate clean toilets.The toilets there are really terrible.I had to hold my breath when shooting videos.

Cleanliness only becomes important to me if I need to use the toilet.If not,I don't mind dirty toilets,as long as they meet criteria #1 to #3.

These are the 6 Criteria that I look out for when I visit a toilet.How about you?

Cha Kwo Ling Public Toilet Cum Bathhouse - Squatting Kimware With Twisted Pipe

Whew,I worked really hard for this toilet.It took me more than an hour to locate this toilet.But I would say that it was really worth my effort.

Cha Kwo Ling Public Toilet cum Bathhouse is located at 90,Cha Kwo Ling Road.The easiest way to reach it is to take the MTR and alight at Yau Tong Station.But for me,I didn't take the MTR.I walked all the way there from Kwun Tong Ferry.

It took me around an hour to reach there.But to make matters worse,I lost my way.I wasted at least half an hour walking to and fro Cha Kwo Ling Road,trying to locate this toilet.

But looking at its exterior intrigued me.I knew it was going to be something good.The toilet was at the second floor.See the photo below,you need to climb up the stairs located on the left.

Once you go into the toilet itself,you are greeted by 2 rows of squatting Kimwares.There are around 7 cubicles in each row.One row is facing the window while the other row is facing the back wall.

Interestingly,those facing the windows had twisted pipes while those facing the back wall had straight pipes.

Look at the photo below,this toilet is facing the window,and it has a twisted pipe.

Next,you will look at the toilet bowl proper.As you can see in the photo below,it's another squatting Kimware.Nothing to be happy about.

To be honest,I was a little disappointed when I saw the Kimware.By looking at the wall tiles and floor tiles,Kimware is incongruent with them.You probably know that Kimware appeared only in late 2001 to the early part of 2002.

How can it be the original toilet bowl for this toilet?

If I were to deduce correctly,this toilet is at least 25 to 30 years old.The large wall tiles belong to the 1970s era.Probably the late 1970s.

By deduction,the original bowl is probably the 1st batch of long Squatting Victorys.Maybe after a while,the long squatting Victorys were replaced by the small pear-shaped Victorys(my favorite).
The next toilet that came in was probably the Square Armitage Shanks,and lastly is the Kimware you see here.

This is only my deduction.I may be right,I may also be wrong.But all I can say is that this toilet scores very well when it comes to its ambience and flushing system.

Speaking of this type of toilet,I came across a similar toilet at Fat Tsueng Street West in Sham Shui Po district.Like this toilet,that one had an old exterior,old floor and wall tiles.The only thing that is incongruent is the toilet bowl.

That toilet had a number of squatting Square Armitage Shanks.I was quite impressed with that toilet too,basing on the ambience.

Alright,it is time for video now.Listen to the nice flushing sound of this toilet.

Coming up next post...Marco's Way Of Rating Toilets.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Kei Yip Street Public Toilet,Kwun Tong,Kowloon,Hong Kong

Kei Yip Street Public Toilet.I had no fate with it on the first visit.Thank God,I managed to get into it on the second visit.

I first visited this toilet in March 2005.But it was closed for renovation.I was really disappointed.But from the exterior,you can guess its brand.

Basing on my experience,my bet was that it could be the Square Armitage Shanks,the Square Twyfords or American Standard.These brands are before renovation.

If I were to guess its brand after renovation,I would bet on Kimware(all 3 models),or the Square Johnson Suisse.

So I guess it wasn't that bad after all,to miss it.After all,one look I know that there are no traces of Victorys.

Anyway,before my December trip,I was left with only 6 Public Toilets to visit in Kowloon,to complete everything.This toilet was one of them.In fact,all of the 6 toilets are located in the Kwun Tong District of Kowloon.

A little more about this toilet.It is 3 stories high.Both the ladies and gents are on the top floor.However,they have different entrances.On the photo above,it is the entrance to the ladies.The gents' entrance is located at the right side.

I didn't take a photo of the gents' entrance because there was an attendant there.As you know,toilet attendants get really jumpy when you take photos and videos of their toilets.Reason is they are afraid that you are from the environmental agency and out to catch them for dirty toilets.

I will leave you to decide what type of toilet bowl is in Kei Yip Street Public Toilet.Watch the video and you will know.

If you don't know what toilet bowl this is,it is a Squatting American Standard with cistern.This Public Toilet is quite big.There are around 18 cubicles.All of them are the same,Squatting American Standard with cistern.

The next toilet I am going to feature has scored a Star from me.I think you might like it too.Stay tuned for the next Public Toilet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Kwun Tong Road Public Toilet - Where Twyfords & Victory Become Brothers

This is a continuation of my series on Hong Kong's Public Toilets.During my visit to Hong Kong last December,I have visited a good number of public toilets.I will try my best to include each one here.

Today,you will look at the public toilet where Twyfords and Victory become brothers.If you know about these 2 brands of toilets,you might feel puzzled.How can Victory be related to Twyfords?

Well,I was puzzled too,when I visited this public toilet.

Kwun Tong Road Public Toilet is an easy find.It is located along Kwun Tong Road,behind the bus terminus.This toilet is also quite busy.Cleanliness is average.

Now,look at the photo below.That's a Twyfords.It is the first time I came across a squatting Twyfords like this.It looks quite similar to the squatting Victory,which used to be quite common in Hong Kong.

Now,look at the photo below...that's the squatting Victory.Both toilets look really similar don't they?And they are actually side by side of each other.This is the reason for the title of this post.

All these toilets are flushed by push-buttons.This is also the first time I came across a push-button Victory.The Victorys usually come with cisterns.Take a look at my collection of toilets at YouTube and you'll know what I mean.

But anyway,it is video time.Coming up first is the Twyfords in the first photo...

The flushing is quite short.As usual,push-button flushes are short.Coming up next is the Victory with push-button flush...

I personally feel that the Victory sounds better with a cistern.With the push-button,it loses it's traditional flushing sound.What is your opinion?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Ngau Tau Kok Public Toilet/Bath House - The Bi-Identity Toilet

I have been waiting for this day!To be able to show you all the different public toilets that I visited in Hong Kong.This was an idea from my friend,James.

I think it is really a great idea.Seeing a video only doesn't really tell much about a toilet.It's like looking at a woman's private parts without knowing how she looks like.Well,you get the idea...

Today,I will introduce you to the Bi-identity toilet.A toilet with 2 brands.It is quite rare to see this in Hong Kong.I have only seen one of them before.It was at a market in Mei Foo,under the fly-over.I didn't have my video cam back then and I really wished to see this type of toilet again.

The law of attraction never fails.As you can see,I managed to find another one.And here you go...Presenting Ngau Tau Kok Public Toilet/Bath House.

After visiting this public toilet,I realized that squatting Victorys in disguise are also considered a lucky charm for me.If you read my post on my favorite toilet in Hong Kong,the Jubilee Street Public Toilet,you will know that the squatting Victorys are my lucky charm.If I see them,my whole day will be very smooth.

If I don't see any of them on a certain day,that day is usually not right.I kept watch on this trend since 2000.

Anyway,back to this toilet.It is a toilet cum bath house.In Hong Kong,there are still poor people with no homes.The government takes care of them by providing public bath houses for them to bathe.These bath houses usually are attached to a public toilet and are usually 3 levels high.

This bathhouse is surprisingly on the ground floor.

The ladies toilet is probably on the second level.Usually the trend in Hong Kong is that the gents are on the higher levels and the ladies are usually on the ground floor.

There are 5 cubicles in this toilet.All of them are cistern flushes.The bowls are also uniform.All 5 are squatting and all look the same.Look at the photo below and you know what I mean...

Now,the question is...Why is this called a bi-identity toilet?

Let me direct your attention to the Victory logo slightly above the hole.Do you see it?Next,look at the TWYFORD logo at the top middle of the toilet bowl.Do you see 2 brands?

Now,my question is...Is this a Victory or TWYFORD?

This is the reason for calling it a Bi-Identity toilet.It has 2 brands.Do you know what brand it is?You need to listen to the flushing sound to identify the brand.Provided you know the difference between a Victory and a TWYFORD.

I have included the video below.Listen to the flushing sound and see if you can tell which brand it is.I will reveal the answer at the end.

Now,are you able to tell whether it is Victory or TWYFORD?

The answer is Victory.Listen to the high pitched sound.TWYFORD's flushing sound is more smooth.

The TWYFORD you see is actually a cover.The squatting TWYFORD has 2 parts,a cover and the toilet bowl itself.You can separate the bowl from the cover and add a Victory to substitute the bowl.

I highly suspect that this toilet retained its old bowls and just underwent a face life.The Victory you see here is the older batch of Victorys from the 1980s.Looking at the new TWYFORD cover and the floor tiles,this toilet was probably renovated in 2002.

This toilet is located at 1,Ting Fu Street.It is near Kwun Tong Road.You can take a bus to Kwun Tong Road and walk in.Ting Fu Street is where they shot "Bug Me Not",starring Isabella Leung.

In my next post,I will introduce you to the pure breed of TWYFORDs.You will be able to tell the difference in their flushing sound with this toilet.Stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Armitage Shanks Family Part 4 - The Baby Of The Family,Small Pear-Shaped Squatting

Whew,finally had a chance to continue with the very last part of this series on the Armitage Shanks family.I actually wanted to finish this before the end of 2007,but unfortunately my computer was down.

Thank God,it is finally up.I can start blogging on my beloved toilets again.

In this post,you will look at the last member of the flushable squatting Armitage Shanks family.This is actually the baby of the family.I call it the baby because it is the smallest among all the squatting toilets.

As you can see later,there are only 2 batches of this type of toilet,the older batch was manufactured as early as 1983,while the newer batch was manufactured somewhere in the early 1990s.

The baby of the Armitage Shanks family can be found in a few countries,namely Singapore,Malaysia and Hong Kong.Among the 3 countries,it is the most commonly found in Malaysia and the least common in Singapore.

I have included photos of each representative from each country.Coming up first is the representative from Singapore.

This toilet is found at Level 6 Car Park of Center Point Shopping Center.Center Point was built in 1983.As you can see,this toilet is 25 years old,if it is still around.

This photo was taken 3 years ago.I don't know if the toilet is still around today.Maybe I'll drop by and try to video it when I get the chance.If I'm not wrong,this is the one and only place in Singapore where you can find this type of toilet.

Next,the photo below is the representative from Hong Kong.This photo show the newer batch of this type.Notice the difference in the logo?The newer logo has a 'A' beside the words.

This toilet is located at Shatin KCR Station,New Territories,Hong Kong.This photo was also taken 3 years ago.I don't think this toilet is still around.Because when I was there,this is the only cubicle with this toilet,the rest have been changed to Kimware.

Shatin KCR Station was opened on 6th May 1982.I strongly believe before this toilet,there is another generation of toilets here.Because this toilet belongs to the 1990s era,not the 1980s era.

Last but not least,you can see the representative from Malaysia.Malaysia has the largest number of the Small Pear-Shaped Armitage Shanks.It is especially common in Penang.Walk into any coffee shop,you are almost certain to find this type of toilet.

However,this photo was not taken in Penang.It was taken in Kuala Lumpur,at Lai Foong Eating House along Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lock.As you can see from the mosaics in the photo,this toilet was replaced.

I was wondering what was the original toilet like.This building was built in 1953.I'm still trying to find out what are Malaysia's old toilets like.

This is also from the newer batch.The good news about this one is that I have captured it on video.I personally like the flushing sound of it.Do you share the same view as me?Find out by viewing the video...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Armitage Shanks Family Part 3 Square Squatting - Lei Yue Mun Ling Nan Sun Cheun Public Toilet

Today,you will look at the 3rd part of the Armitage Shanks Family Series.This time round,you will be looking at toilets from Hong Kong and Malaysia.The square squatting Armitage Shanks.This post is actually a 2-in-1 post.I am also featuring one public toilet I visited during my recent trip to Hong Kong.

It so happened that this public toilet has the square squatting Armitage Shanks.I will introduce the square squatting Armitage Shanks,then move on to the featured public toilet.

The square squatting Armitage Shanks has been around since the mid 1990s.It is a very common sight in Malaysia.Especially on the North South Expressway.Almost every rest area you stop over has this type of toilet.But they are mostly flushed by valve.

For the cisterns flushes,you can find them at the shopping malls.It is quite easy to find them as they are very common.

In Hong Kong,it is a little bit tougher to find them,as the toilets are renovated quite often.In the mid 1990s,they were quite common.Most of the public toilets of that era have this type of toilet.They are either flushed by stepping on a pedal,or handles on the wall,or exposed cisterns.

Nowdays,due to extensive renovation,this type of toilets are getting lesser.However,there is a new batch of them.One has the latest Armitage Shanks logo while the other uses the brand Johnson Suisse.

I will feature the Johnson Suisse ones in another post,as my current post is strictly on Armitage Shanks.However,I have included a photo of the new batch of square squatting Armitage Shanks.If you feel impatient,you can scroll down right now to the last photo of the post to look at it.

Now,I will move on to the featured public toilet.Introducing...Ling Nam Sun Cheun Public Toilet of Lei Yue Mun.As you can see from the photo below,this toilet is newly renovated.

But looking at the toilet bowl itself,you might have second thoughts.Are you thinking about the same thing as me?

Yes,you are right.This toilet underwent a facelift.The exterior and tiles were renovated,but the bowl remains the same.

As I have mentioned earlier,this toilet belongs to the mid 1990s era.Looking at the exterior and the tiles,the bowl and its surroundings are not congruent.The exterior and the tiles belong to the new millenium.

I didn't not expect to see this bowl before I went into the toilet.I expected to see a new Twyfords,or some metallic bowl.In fact,there are about 4 of such bowls and 1 sitting bowl in this toilet.The toilet is relatively clean.

Coming up next is the video of this toilet...

You would probably agree that the flushing sound is quite screwed up.I had to step on the pedal twice to get it flushing.I suspect that there is no cistern because I didn't have to exert a lot of force when I stepped on it the first time.

However,the second time,I had to step and put my foot there.If I let go of my foot,the flushing stops immediately.I suspect that instead of a cistern,the toilet is flushed by a valve.

Let me explain why I came to this conclusion...

1.Basing on experience,when there's a cistern,you have to exert more force on the pedal.

2.After exerting the force on the pedal,you can let go and the toilet will flush by itself all the way until the cistern empties itself.It will not stop flushing the moment you let go of the pedal.

3.The flushing sound doesn't sound like a cistern flush.

Anyway,I hope to be able to video a toilet of this type and model with a cistern.If I go to Hong Kong again,I'll probably go over to Ah Kung Ngam Road Public Toilet where it has this type of toilet with a cistern.

Coming up next is the new batch of square squatting Armitage Shanks on photo.It looks exactly the same as its predecessor,except the brand logo.

The new batch's brand logo is facing outwards instead of upwards.Armitage Shanks seem to be going back in time,instead of following the trend of brand logos facing upwards.

I apologise that there is no video for this one as I took this photo about a year ago and back then I didn't have my video camera.

This photo was taken at Shing Ho Road Public Toilet & Bathhouse,Sha Tin,New Terrotories,Hong Kong.It is a newly renovated toilet.

In the next part,you will be looking at the smallest Armitage Shanks squatting toilets.My main computer is down at the moment.I am using my laptop to do this post.The photos are in the main computer.I will only be able to do the next post after my computer resumes operation.Till then,stay tuned!