Thursday, May 31, 2007

My Favourite Toilet In Xiamen

After staying in Xiamen for 10 days,I finally found my favourite toilet.For the past 9 days,I was quite disappointed with the toilets.All of them seemed to be similar.Each brand seems to be copying the other.

If you don't understand what I'm saying,that's ok.You probably will after reading the series on China toilets.

Now let me start...Introducing my favourite toilet of Xiamen...

This toilet is located at Xiang Jiang Shopping Arcade,as you can see the stone tablet below.This building is built in 1993.

I came to realise that the type of toilets that I like in China all seem to come from the 1990s era.Especially the early and mid 1990s.

Why do I particularly like this type of toilets?I'll say that it's due to the unique identity it gives to China's toilets.It's something you can only find in China and not other places.The new generation of toilets seem to be everywhere.You can find them in Hong Kong,and similar types in Malaysia as well.

Why do I like this particular toilet?This is pretty straightforward.Because it's flushed by pulling the string from the cistern.It's my favourite type of flushing system.When flushing this type of toilet,you can always hear 3 different phases of the flush,which are the starting,climax and the end.

Let me direct your attention to the photo below...can you see the outer part of the toilet protruding upwards?This is a unique feature of toilets in China.If I'm not wrong,Japan and Taiwan also has this type of toilet.However,their flushing system and brands are different.

To illustrate,I'll use 2 examples...1. it's like Victory in Hong Kong.You can never find that model of Victory anywhere else in the world.2.It's like Johore Pipe Co. in Malaysia.You'll never be able to find that model of Johore Pipe Co. anywhere else in the world.

I noticed something interesting about the flushing cisterns of China...You don't have to exert a lot of force.Just a gentle tug and the toilet will flush.Not only that,the pressure is very great.My feet nearly got splashed when flushing this toilet.
However,the flushing time is very short.Only 4 seconds for a full flush.Unlike those of Singapore and Hong Kong.

Based on what I've seen,there are more than one brand with this type of toilet.What you see here is "Tang Tao".There's also "Sin Wa"(Public Toilet A013) , "Tang Shan S.P."(Xiamen Ferry Terminal) and "Khong Yuan" (Tian Fu Tea Rest Area,Zhan Pu).

All of them look alike but sound different.I will feature them one by one here.If you are impatient,you can go to to listen to the sound difference.

Among all of them,my personal opinion is that this one sounds the best.I've done a video shoot on this toilet.In fact,I have done 2 video shoots.One of them is an NG.I had to reshoot again.

Let me explain why...Before my first shoot,I went to test flush the toilet to see if it sounded good.I had to decide whether to change cubicle.But I made a mistake.I didn't give it enough time to recover from the previous flush.i.e. I did not give enough time for the cistern to refill itself to full tank.

I flushed it too soon.As a result,from the first video,you can hear the full flushing sound.It's only a half flush,with very little pressure.I tried to pull again,but it didn't help.

Here's the first's shot at Level 5 toilet.

Not only the flushing sound is sucky,there's also a lot of background noise.Apparently the toilet was suddenly crowded when I was doing the shoot.

Now for the second video...TAKE 2!!

This is shot at Level 3's toilet.Enjoy.

You can probably hear the difference.The sound is much clearer and you can hear the full flush.This bring me to the end of today's post.Hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

5 Lessons Learnt When Exploring Public Toilets In China

It has been quite some time since I last posted on this blog...I was in Xiamen,China for 2 weeks with my grandpa and uncle to attend a wedding.

Before I proceed to the main topic,I've something to tell you.I have been posting a lot of toilet videos on There are a number of them which are not featured here.If you are interested in viewing them,please go to youtube and search under Marcoboy9074.

You'll be able to view all the toilet videos I've posted.Some of them will be featured here soon.But the others will remain there.If you want to grab my latest updates on toilets,please view my videos at The stuff there is more updated than what you see here.

Of course,there are some pictures here that you can't see there.Visit both sides to get a complete picture.

Now let me proceed into today's topic...After visiting China's public toilets,I start to appreciate the public toilets of Singapore and Hong Kong.

As you can see in the photos,the public toilets are dimly lit.It's not easy to get a clear picture unless I use flash.But there are attendants and I don't wish to create any trouble with them.The very first lesson learnt is to visit the toilets in the day time.

Lesson 1:Visit Only During Day Time

Next,when shooting videos and taking photos,choose a cubicle that's well-lit.It's quite difficult to do so,but just find the best.Of course if possible,visit during the day time.I wasn't able to visit all these toilets in the day because I was with my relatives.Only during the evenings then I go toilet exploring.

Lesson 2:Choose The Best Lit Cubicle To Do Video Shoots and Taking Photos.

Searching for the public toilets is very much like treasure hunting.You really got to look hard if not you won't be able to find it.From my experience,as long as you proceed along the road the W.C. sign is pointing to,you should be able to find it.

That's true for 90% of the public toilets I've visited.Some of the public toilets are in narrow dark alleys.Not matter what,keep going straight from the sign's direction.

Lesson 3:Keep going straight from the W.C. Sign.

If you like the older toilets,like me,then you need to know what are their characteristics.It differs from country to country.For Xiamen's case,all the new or renovated toilets have names.If you see a public toilet with a name outside,it's new or renovated.

The older ones,like those shown above,all don't have names.They only have the serial numbers.Which in these cases,the first one is A037 and the other one is A023.

I'll include the toilets with names in my subsequent posts.

Lesson 4:New Toilets Have Names While Old Ones Don't.

There are a number of different flushing systems in Xiamen.The latest system is by stepping on a pedal.Next there's the push-button flush.There's a button(looks like the button on our taps) on a pipe,push it to flush.

Third we have the tap system.There's a handle on the pipe leading to the toilet bow.Turn the handle to turn on the water to flush.Turn off to stop flushing.The oldest type is the cistern.Just like the older toilets of Singapore and Hong Kong.I will definitely do a post on this one.Stay tuned.

Back to toilet of the methods I use is to keep a lookout when travelling around.Keep looking out for signs.There are certain places where there are no signs,but the toilets are there.

A few things to lookout for...whenever you see a night market,or a marketplace,there has to be a public toilet nearby.Next thing,look out for bus terminus.There will definitely be one nearby.Tourist spots will definitely have toilets.But they are usually the new ones.Which I'm not so interested in.

Lesson 5:Look Out For Night Markets,Market Places,Bus Terminus,Dark Alleys,Tourist Spots & Parks.

To be effective in toilet hunting,you need to keep exploring places.Certain places seem unlikely to have toilets turn out to have one.Like A037 above.I stumbled upon this toilet while exploring a lane that was selling some food.

Good news is that the government is coming up with a toilet map in June.I hope to be able to get it soon.On my next visit,I can cover more toilets.

Stay tuned for my other toilet posts...Here's a preview...I'll be posting on
1.My Favourite Toilet In Xiamen,with video.
2.The Most Horrible Sounding Toilet,with video.
3.Public Toilet A013,with video.
4.Tian Fu Tea House Rest Area Toilet,with video.
5.Public Toilet A025,with video.
6.Public Toilet A037,with video.
7.China's American Standard,with video.
8.Nan Pu Tuo Temple's Sensored Flush,with video.
9.My Favourite Toilet In Singapore,with video.
10.Singapore's Johore Pipe Co.,with video.

That's a lot.Stay tuned.See you soon.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The ALMOST PERFECT Toilet (By Marco's Definition)

"There are no perfect humans,but there are perfect toilets." - Marco

Yes,that's my quote.And you may be wondering...what in my opinion is a PERFECT TOILET?Let me define my perfect toilet...

It has to fulfill the following conditions:

1.Squatting SP,3rd batch (From 1982 to 1984).
2.Shires cistern with all original parts.
3.Must have a springy feel when flushing it.
4.Flushing pressure must be great,which will give a loud flushing sound.

As you can see,this is a pretty bias definition.But then this is my FAVOURITE type of toilet in the whole of Singapore.Once upon a time,there's a place in Singapore which has the PERFECT TOILET.

But sad to say,the perfect toilet is no longer perfect.The toilet bowls have changed.The cisterns have changed.Worse still,the whole toilet might be renovated.But I don't know when.

However,today's post is not on my PERFECT TOILET.But on an almost perfect toilet.It has been more than 20 years,but luckily I was still able to find one toilet that satisfied 3 out of the 4 conditions listed above.

Just one.It's probably going to be gone soon too.

I discovered this toilet by applying one of my theroies.(More on this next time).Refer to March's post on Singapore's Potex...

Let me direct your attention to "Singapore's Potex Part 1"...Look at the third photo,the one with the blue tiles and the black cistern....

This is taken from a public toilet on the 2nd floor of Block 266,Serangoon Central Drive.This toilet may have a Shires Cistern,but the parts are not original.The flushing handle is white in color.The original one is in black and is uniquely shaped.

I had to make do with this toilet because it's the best I could find.But after a while,I discovered that this toilet was renovated.I was pretty sad.Yet another toilet with Shires Cistern is gone forever.

I decided to apply two of my toilet theories..."The higher you go up a building,the higher your chance of finding an original toilet." and "If that place is locked up or seldom used,your chances of finding an original toilet is very high."

Based on the first theory,I went up to the highest floor of Block 266.There was a badminton hall there.But it was locked when I went there.It was daytime when I was there.

Probably I need to go there again in the evening.I need to find out if there's an original toilet there.

Oh yes,I have not definied what's an "original toilet".An "ORIGINAL TOILET" by my definition is a toilet that existed when the building was built.It's not renovated or replaced.Nowdays it's not easy to find "original toilets" of older buildings.Because they keep renovating.


I went back to the badminton court one evening just before visiting my grandparents.It was open.I was really happy.Now...I had to prepare myself...will I be disappointed?Or will I be happy?

The badminton players looked at me as if I was some monster when I went into the court.I ignored their looks.Sometimes as a toilet researcher,you need to be more thick-skinned and at the same time courageous.Why courageous?I'll touch on that another time.

I made my way to the back of the hall...the floor tiles were original...the door was original...I pushed the door and went tiles...the cisterns of the urinals were also Shires.Looks like my chances are pretty high.

NOW...the awaited moment comes...

I turned left and looked at the first cubicle.GUESS WHAT?It's an original toilet.Squatting Potex with a Shires cistern.To top it off,the cistern still had it's original parts.The flushing handle is the original black one.

I was so happy!!Hardly able to contain my excitement!!2 reasons...firstly,my theories worked.Secondly,I had finally found a toilet with the original Shires parts.

I quickly reached out and pulled the flushing handle.Oh my God,the feeling was springy and the flushing sound was wonderful.It was as if I was in a dream.Went on the the second cubicle.Yet another squatting Potex with Shires Cistern.It's a double blessing!:)

I flushed the 2 toilets and was smiling ear to ear as I left the place.

But then...I did not have a video phone camera then.So I only took photos of the cistern and the flushing handle.My Nokia 6610i phone camera was pathetic.I couldn't take the whole view of the toilet.

Few months passed.

I got my N80 phone.I decided to visit that toilet again.Hopefully I can capture it on video this time.One fine day in April,I ended up there one evening.Was pretty nervous when taking the shot.

I was afraid that someone might just come into the toilet and my shoot will be messed up.But fortunately,I was able to complete my shoot smoothly.Please enjoy this short video clip of my ALMOST PERFECT TOILET.