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Toilet Training:

A post I have been meaning to write about for a while. Not a topic you will see that often, because us westerners are very sensitive about this subject - not in polite conversation, but in my mind it is one of the unrecognised benefits of living in Thailand. TOILET PAPER AND BUM SPRAYS. There, I have got that into the open.

As is frequently the case, I will not only write specifically about the topic, but raise a side-issue, that relates to just about everything with your new life or potential new life in Thailand.

I lived 45 years in Australia, which has taken after the British model of toilet cleanliness, meaning a pretty low paper only standard. This is not a subject I ever gave any thought to. It was an accepted way of life, and there were 45 years and more of ingrained habit involved. It was then a surprise when I came to Thailand for a holiday to be confronted with signs in hotels and resorts, stating that no toilet paper was to be placed in the toilet. Each toilet had a basket or bin next to it. Yuk. Were you supposed to place dirty paper in there? That couldn't be right.

I have to say that based on my ignorance and habit based thinking, I thought that the cleaning process still used paper, while the bum sprays were a final detailing!

Of course, it is the opposite that applies in Thailand. The spray cleans, and the paper is purely for drying, not cleaning, which is why you can place paper in bins and not flush it. When I now look at how I used to approach the task, and how tens of millions still do, it seems revolting, dirty and backward that paper is the main cleaning agent, and no water is used to get a proper result.

For me, wherever I lived in the world, the first thing I would change in a bathroom would be to add bum sprays. Of course, a number of European and other countries are well ahead of the British based standard with proper washing facilities associated with the toilet function.

I am sure there are others reading this while based in Thailand that shook heads at the scenes of the rush on toilet paper in places like the UK and Australia. No such issue here because toilet paper isn't central to the job, and when used it is minimal because of its function.

On a purely ecological basis, why aren't bum washers mandatory in all western homes? The sewage system must be literally clogged up with millions of tons of unnecessary toilet paper, and I am sure a lot of the sewerage processing is aimed at breaking this down or whatever they do. Families would save heaps of money by reducing their need for paper, and supermarket shelves wouldn't empty come the next pandemic.

Finally, I see my change in attitude as part of that wonderful process of reviewing my life by leaving Australia and settling here. This can be an opportunity to observe new customs and review old habits and pick and choose what you want to retain, and abandon a lot of junk thinking that has bogged us down.

I can see some expats, clinging onto the toilet paper routine because that's what they have always done, in the same way they might reject so much that's new, sensible and exciting in their Thai life (here I am talking about things other than toilets to be clear). I can not see ANY benefit to this particular historical habit, and a whole list of positives to bum washers of all things, so have abandoned the old and adopted the new. In a philosophical sense, I have done the same with so much of my life here, and I do recommend it.


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