Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cut & Paste & Toilets ....

Yesterday we had the World Town Planning Day Celebration. As the name says, the emphasis is on planning. Planning is an important step in doing everything, anything in fact. Not to plan is planning to fail, some says. So everyone plans but sometimes we don’t too. Sometimes we followed our gut feeling, our instinct. Then again this can also be planning. Planning to follow our guts. Big guts in some instances.

In doing our work we planned ahead, we have a system, an approach albeit it varies from one individual to another. My line of work involves preparing speeches for my boss. As with any speeches, be it major or minor, inputs or sometimes the full text will be provided by the relevant people. These inputs will then be transferred to a ready template. Technology, computers, make the work even simpler, faster. Highlight the text, right hand click, press cut then paste it to the template. Simple! Then the hard part. Going through the text. Making sense of it, adjustments, numbering, spelling checks, thorough info checks and all the normal stuff. Sounds straight forward. Job done bar last minute changes. Then came the time the speech delivered. The shock of my life. First para, the opening para was totally wrong. What a clanger! Had the wrong occasion typed on it. The cut & paste curse hits again. So much for the planning, the so called systematic approach, the use of technology. It is true when people say no matter how hi tec we go, if garbage goes in, garbage will come out. I put my hands up. I am the guilty one. No need to charge me. I admit.

The moment the boss said that now infamous sentence, I wished the earth just swallow me. Kick me on the backside, slap my head, clip my ears, tok ketampi Hj Bakhil style, all in one. All the planning, all the good work especially by the people giving the inputs went down the toilet!

Ah! Toilets! Today, 19 November is World Toilet Day. The day we remember toilets. As if we do not remember them enough as it is. We visit them every day, a few times a day. Our best friends in time of needs. We reminisce, we think, we read, we angan-angan, we sing, we call, we text, we facebook, we tweets, in fact we do all sort of things in them. But do we appreciate them? Some do, some do not. We must. Just look at these statistics: 2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation, which risks their health, strips their dignity, and kills 1.8 million people, mostly children a year; even the world's wealthiest people still have toilet problems - from unhygienic public toilets to sewage disposal that destroys our waterways. Let’s do something about it! Let’s commit to improving toilet and sanitation conditions. That scene in the Slumdog Millionaire comes to mind......

An anecdote my boss kept telling us is imagine if we are walking along in the row of shops in Kiulap or Gadong. Suddenly the tummy grumbles, just like the worst ribut you can think off. No rest bite. Grumble and grumble. Rumblings. The light is on amber and ready to turn green. But no toilets in sight. Not a single public toilet in the rows of shops. Only private toilets. You will end up going to one of the shop, buy whatever you can get your hands on. Then asked kindly but sure in grumblings voice, “Boleh pinjam jamban boss?”. Add to that no water, no tissue, nothing! That could be the worst day of your life, your worst nightmare, ever worse than the nightmares those kids have in the Nightmare on Elm Street Movies.

On this day, let’s show our appreciation to our toilets. Keep them clean. Improve them.

Read more about World Toilet Day here.

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