what the hell. i don’t really know where i stand on this, and all the terms of law just go over my head (bodes badly for my future career) but like some people said, this argument has gone way, way above the original intention of a particular blog entry to a completely different issue altogether. when i read XX’s blog i felt the way in which she expressed her opinions were abit off and yet there’s a shred of truth to it sometimes (i say this because i’m one of those guilty people who use the handicapped toilet too) but seriously in my entire life i’ve never actually seen a disabled person use the toilet before. is it just because my world view is terribly small or am i going blind when i say the number of handicapped people one actually sees in town (arguably where human traffic is the highest and hence the possibility of using handicapped toilets, both by the handicapped and the non-handicapped, are the highest) is disproportionately small compared to the rest of the non-handicapped population? not to say in general there is a non-existent handicapped population in singapore, but just that there are really very few handicapped people to be found in town.
in light of this, is it logical for a non-handicapped person to not use the handicapped toilet when he/she really needs to go? some people would argue that whether or not this is the case, handicapped toilets should be left open to those who really need it (and he, most of all, feels it is a “right, not a privilege”) but it still confounds me that a perfectly functional toilet is left vacant when there is (and here i make my qualifications) 1) a very long queue 2) a vacant cubicle, and most importantly in conjunction with 1) and 2), 3) the fact that there is no handicapped person in sight.
that being said, i’m sure if a handicapped person were in the queue, others would make way for him/her to use the handicapped cubicle– but that doesn’t seem to be the main point of contention at all, even though this point was raised by both sides of the fence repeatedly, they don’t seem to acknowledge agreement on this one point. and the fact remains that while a handicap is, well, a handicap, one shouldn’t exploit the handicap in order to cut queues to use the toilet; and by logical extension they too must wait in line to use the toilet just like everybody else, regardless of whether the handicapped toilet should be solely for their use. some people say that different people have different handicaps and so what happens to those with bowel problems, who should take first priority?
in which case, you, knowing your own disability best, should take responsibility for exercising discretion when it comes to such matters; ie if you really need the toilet, just say so! no one will deny you the right to use a handicapped toilet if you are a handicapped person really needing to use the toilet, but if you’re wheelchair bound but have no real urgency to go to the toilet and have no serious bowel problems (or anything similar) then just kindly wait in line like everybody else! i mean, it’s not like it’s going to kill you to exercise some manners, instead of imperiously demanding to use the handicapped toilet just because you’re handicapped (when you don’t really need to rush) while 20 other normal people are waiting as well, some of them urgent, some of them not.
no one, i honestly hope, is horrible enough to deny handicapped users that cubicle if you make your request politely, unless there is someone already inside, in which case the onus should be on the person inside the toilet (whether handicapped or non-handicapped, after all it’s not like handicapped people have a lower chance of wetting the floor when they wash their hands or something, they have just as much opportunity to as everybody else) to take the responsibility to keep the place clean and dry enough for handicapped people (whether on wheelchairs or not) to use! and it goes without saying that if you’re not handicapped, just (omg) just don’t hog the toilet unnecessarily, like XX’s example of using it for vanity purposes (i mean what the hell, really).
in fact i get damn pissed with people who hog the normal toilets already, i seriously don’t know what the hell they’re doing in there; it doesn’t really matter if there’s no one in the toilet, but when there’s like 10-15 people outside waiting for you to open the door it just gets a bit annoying. ultimately it involves a bit of give and take on both sides, and both handicapped and non-handicapped must exercise discretion and take responsibility.
that being said, unfortunately all this goes beyond mere intellectual debate and even campaigning of rights and instead to public education instead. i think people in general should just be more tolerant. arghhhh i can’t believe people are getting all worked up over this! why the need to resort to personal attacks and calling people stupid and whatever?! you’d think adults’d behave in a more mature manner, but seriously man, what the hell! intellectual fine points make my brain hurt.