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Tuesday, August 25, 1998 Published at 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

Singapore's super-loos

Campaigning for clean toliets has become an annual event

People in Singapore take cleanliness seriously.

The island republic known for its litter-free, green and spacious boulevards has turned its attention to creating a similar ambience for its public toilets with a month-long campaign to find the loveliest lavatories.

[ image: Clogs and tulips feature in the Dutch-themed toilet]
Clogs and tulips feature in the Dutch-themed toilet
Last year's quest for the perfect porcelain featured a poster campaign illustrating three model toilets and inviting the public to identify their locations.

Toilet tour

On Sunday the campaign organisers held a 'scavenger hunt' in which people were taken on a tour of some of the island's finest lavatories.

The month of public awareness is aimed at encouraging sanitary practices, including flushing after use and better aim.

[ image: Expect to find the pharaoh's throne in the ancient Egyptian convenience]
Expect to find the pharaoh's throne in the ancient Egyptian convenience
Organisers of the competition to find the cleanest toilet say it has government backing.

"The prime minister says that good toilet habits are a good reflection of a gracious society," says Clean Toilet Campaign organiser Catherine Wolfe. "So they believe that toilet manners reflect badly on Singaporean society."


For a number of years it has been illegal not to flush public toilets, whilst an increasing number of high-tech conveniences are fitted with sensors that detect when a user has finished and flush automatically.

[ image: The official campaign T-shirt]
The official campaign T-shirt
But its not just Singapore's people who are benefiting from the competition. Locals, visitors and foreign residents alike are enjoying the high standards.

"Clean toilets are very important," says Singaporean citizen Foo Yit Chiow. "It is important to have clean toilets because it's hygenic. People see a dirty toilet, then they won't want to go."

While there are many clean toilets on the island, the ones that are generating the most enthusiasm on the island are those with an international flavour in the Great World City shopping mall.

Seven wonders

[ image: Great World City spent over half a million dollars on their 'Seven Wonders' toilets]
Great World City spent over half a million dollars on their 'Seven Wonders' toilets
Known as The Seven Wonders, each of the toilets displays murals and motifs from a different country. And they are the hot favourites to win the Peoples' Choice Award for Singapore's top toilet.

The award asks respondents to correctly name the features of a model toilet - and a correct answer could win you a trip for two to Australia.

This year, callers to the Ministry of Environment's toilet hotline are asked to vote for their top five favourite toilets.

[ image: The minimalist Japanese comfort station]
The minimalist Japanese comfort station
Great World City spent $588,000 on its seven toilets, which shoppers have described as "cool" and "excellent".

The drive for cleaner lavatories began in 1996 at the personal initiative of the prime minister.

Now in a survey this year, out of 770 public toilets, more than 20 were categorised as "excellent", whereas in 1996 and 1997 none of Singapore's toilets attained super-loo status.

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