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Toilet talk

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LEGACY OF the loo, anyone?

Angeles City councilor Edu Pamintuan may have lost in his bid for the vice mayoralty post but he certainly won his niche in many an Angeleno heart, figuratively, in many an Angeleno anus, literally, leaving an indelible mark in local legislation with what can only be aptly called the “bidet provision” in the amended city sanitation code.

Ordinance No. 326 makes it mandatory for commercial and business establishments in the city to install bidets in their toilets, deemed as a more hygienic alternative to tissue rolls.

In signing the ordinance last week, Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan was reported to have hailed it as “great news.”

“The availability of access to a bidet helps in making sure the city is clean.” So was the elder Pamintuan quoted as saying.

Indeed, this ordinance may go down in the annals of the city council as one of the greatest legislative measures ever. The cleanest, unarguably.

Clean as clean can ever get, yes. In a sense, AC has come full circle here, thanks to the younger Pamintuan’s intervention.

We Capampangans pride ourselves for our cleanliness. The riverbank dwellers that we started as a race had for their toilets the cumon – outhouses on stilts – that did not find any need for a deposito or septic tank, the hole on the floor directly discharging to the river below. But it always had the tapayan filled with water, and the tabo with which to draw the water, and wash.

In matters of toilet hygiene, manos buldit was the proper procedure, as against the mananggilu – wash-clean sanitarily superior to wipe-clean, that is. The latter, often resorted to when hit by the call of nature on the road, done behind the nearest bush, with leaves or grass for wipes, ever giving one the feeling of being unthoroughly-clean, of smelling mabange instead of mabanglu. Which is so un-Capampangan.

A matter of comfort inhered in too: where water is soothing, tissue paper is chafing, given the sensitivity of the sphincter ani externus. Maplas, especially in those afflicted with almoranas.

“Sana rugu balang manos ko buldit, aiiisip yu ku.” The young Pamintuan teased in his Facebook post of the ordinance. Swell, what a way to be remembered, Edu – daily, and in some (in)digestive cases, three or more times a day. Now, if only those who stand to gain from this ingenious legislation find some debt of gratitude to its sponsor and commit their votes to him in 2022, Pamintuan Junior would be runaway winner in any city elective post he would contest.

In all seriousness, Edu’s bidet provision is now being pushed in some local sanggunians – proof positive of its most efficacious impact. And lest we forget, the bidet will also minimize the use of tissue paper, thereby saving thousands of trees from the axe. To the sheer delight of the tree huggers.

UTI at the mall

A lively banter with City of San Fernando Mayor Edwin Santiago and Macabebe Mayor Bobong Flores on the sidelines of the mass oath-taking rites for Pampanga officials last Saturday at the LGC Event Center turned serious at my mention of Edu’s l’affaire bidet.

Santiago pulled the passing city councilor Reden Halili and asked him to do a study on a similar measure.

“Ala namang matsura queng mangopya, lalu na nung improve ta ya pa.” Noted Halili, adding that he would further incorporate the provision of a sink for hand washing after the “discharging.”

Make it ASAP, Santiago requested Halili.

Flores had a different toilet issue altogether. A habitue of a fast-food chain in SM City Pampanga along with senior peers, the mayor monikered Zorro asked Santiago to enjoin the mall management to direct the food chain and other eateries to put up gender-segregated toilets in their premises. Rued he:

“Tunggal la cubeta, Guinu co, deng mangatua mangapali la talaga queng pila. Lalu na istung babai la ring maca-una uling magcaluat la qng pamagbawas da.”

Flores reminded me of the wisecrack of the Jack Nicholson character in The Bucket List: “Three things to remember when you get older: never pass up a bathroom, never waste a hard-on, and never trust a fart.” The toilet as basic necessity highlighted in the first and third reminders there. And in case of uncontrolled urgency, when “armed struggle” would suffice, even in the second.

While at this, and pursuant to the state policy of gender-sensitivity, the local government units may as well require the shopping malls to increase the number of toilets for women.

On any day, in any mall, the long queues to the women’s CRs are an unvarying constant. This is as much an assault on the dignity of the fairer sex as an endangerment of their health. As it has long been medically proven that holding in pee can result to urinary tract infection, and worse, bladder and kidney problems.

It is well within the power of the malls to give UTI a positive meaning – unrestricted toilet ingress. Then, they can rightfully say “wee-wee got it all.”

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