Use ’em right

Guest contributor and social worker Vicky Ang shares her thoughts on being more careful and mindful of others while using public facilities.

In view of observations of late and with the additional bits and pieces of feedback from the people around me, I decided to share my thoughts on the importance of using public facilities the RIGHT way.

It sounds relatively absurd that this topic should be on the table for discussion but trust me, there are so many out there that still feel that they have the right to ruin public facilities on purpose or through misuse, not caring about their wrong actions.

Here are some nicknames you should NEVER earn and actions you should NEVER take which could put public facilities out of use, facilities that are supposed to make our lives more convenient.

The Slammer

These are usually users who have problems with anger management, time management or they are just very impatient. They also suffer from a misconception that if you bang the machine, something good will happen and the problem would be fixed. Honestly, in many situations, this would cause the machine to malfunction even more!

It’s understandable that when you are pressed for time, or you just want to get the product you purchased or get the service the machine is providing over and done with, a faulty error might stimulate the urge to slam. More often than not, though, slamming the machine is just going to hurt your hand/arm/foot/leg and nothing more.

If you can find a button to eject your payment, please do so before slamming the machine. Otherwise, an alternative option would be looking for a maintenance officer or person in charge nearby to assist you. When all else fails, just consider the amount a donation that will never be returned. Keep your cool and walk away.

A tip on avoiding ‘money-swallowing’ machines, always check the machines first to ensure that indicator lights are on, instructions visible, buttons and handles working etc. Also, try using coins with lower value. This way, if the coin should get stuck, you will lose a smaller investment!


The Itchy-fingers

There are some people who just need to ruin things. Whether it’s the urge to grafitti meaningless words (usually foul ones) or demeaning terms on walls, pillars, doors, or destroy any smooth surfaces by removing paint, cover, instructions off some public facilities, those with itchy fingers are the reason why we can’t have nice things.

Public facilities are not supposed to be your easel that you transform into your personal masterpiece. If you are unable to control your so-called artistic tendencies and urges, get a piece of working material like paper or cloth. Leave the surfaces of our public facilities alone.

For those who enjoy peeling or scraping, you can try scratching yourself or picking on one of your sores. Apply the wrong to yourself and feel the pain. Then stop doing what you tend to do!


The Balancer, The Miss-Aim & The Foot-as-Hand (toilet-users)

There are some who prefer squatting toilets for hygienic purposes, and others who prefer the comfort of sitting down while they perform the deed. Regardless what form our toilets come in, we are supposed to use them the right way.

There are some specific instructions for certain public toilets. Well, just follow those if they are available. Otherwise, please apply some common sense and if that isn’t available, it is time to get some.

Aim accurately when hovering over squatting toilets. Should mishaps happen, kindly use any nearby hose/ pail to remove evidence of your business that may remain!

Sitting toilets are NOT for squatting. You may need to squat but this can wreck the toilet seat and in a worst-case scenario, even detach the bowl from the ground while you’re doing your balancing act. Please do not make a rocking horse out of the toilet bowl with your need to squat.

Some use their feet as hands. Their intention is not to perform some circus act but they claim that since the flush handles or seats are dirty they would prefer touching these items with their feet. Unless you’re going to clean up after yourself, using your feet to flush or flip the seat is just going to dirty the toilet up even more.

Tissues and toilet papers come in handy when going to the toilet. These can aid you in cleaning flush handles and seats that you may think are dirty. You could also wipe the toilet seats clean instead of contributing to the unsanitary conditions.

And of course, FLUSH AFTER USE and just wash your hands after using the toilet. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about being so unclean in the first place, right?

The Litterbug & Stick’em-bug

Well we have talked a lot about litterbugs but there are those who also enjoy sticking their trash to things. Sticky trash usually involves chewing gum, bubble gum or some kind of pasty food item. Some do stick their nose booger around as well, oh my… but that is true.

The uncaring attitude about where you leave your trash or dirt is the ultimate problem that needs to be solved. Should a bin be full, find another. Should there be no bin, keep your trash until you find one. It may be advisable to always carry around empty bags that could be used to contain your waste if you are that much of a clean freak.

Trash clogs up public toilets, dirties parks and other public places. As much as you want to get rid of your trash, others who are using these public facilities would also like your trash NOT to be there.


The mentality of letting another fix our problems is a mentality we should get rid of. If we want to enjoy these public facilities for years to come, we should learn how to use them properly.

Do we treat our own things in such a bad manner? If not, we should be even more careful while using public facilities to ensure that they could continue to serve others in need.

With proper use, hefty maintenance or replacement costs need not be incurred. Hopefully with this save we can get better public facilities or enjoy other possible benefits!

Be the bigger person, use ’em right!

Karen chin biodata

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