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Thursday, June 14, 2018

On "Toilet Apartheid" in Singapore

The usual suspects are upset over Marina One, a mall in Singapore, not allowing construction workers to use some toilets.

Mall apologises for toilet sign barring construction workers, threatening $107 fine

"A shopping mall owner has apologised for putting up a sign banning construction workers from its toilets and threatening them with a $107 fine for unauthorised use...

It was industry practice to have designated toilets for workers at newly completed developments.

M+S explained: "This practice ensures that there isn't any confusion for those needing to use the toilets, who may think that contractors are there to fix an issue. It also keeps out any construction dust from these facilities, for the comfort of the users.""

Of course, the real story is more complicated:

Kok Wei Liang - Kok Wei Liang shared Martha Tara Lee's post.:

Timothy Soh: Ah yes
The uninformed public making guesses!!!!

Let's all get offended without the background story!

Gabriel Tang-Rafferty: there’s really no version a backstory that can justify this sign though.

Timothy Soh: Even if they agreed to it before hand and flout it resulting in the management resorting to put this up where it shouldn't have been necessary?

Gabriel Tang-Rafferty: why should anyone have to be subject to having to agree to such behaviour in the first place

Timothy Soh: Because it is part of the renovation contract that the tenant agrees with the owner of the building, and enforced by the management on behalf of said owner.

I had a career in that field. I can tell you, out of 10 contractors told to use specific toilets, probably 3 will comply.

Gabriel Tang-Rafferty: a toilet is a toilet, for people to relieve themselves. contractors and workers aren’t entitled to being allowed to relief themselves? what sort of a world is that? what makes one person more privileged to use a toilet than another?

the key word here is privilege, when this should really be a matter of a basic entitlement for all humans.

Timothy Soh: Rubbish I say. You live in a world where you don't have to deal with this.

So tell me, what damages do they do to the toilet when they use them? Think about it.

Gabriel Tang-Rafferty: i’m sorry to say that with all your career to be able to see something so basic and life affirming but yet be unable to do so, is a very sad state of affairs.

Timothy Soh: answer my question. What do they use the toilet for?

Gabriel Tang-Rafferty: the sign simply says that they aren’t allowed to use the toilet, not that they aren’t allowed to do whatever they want in the toilet. the principle behind that sign is fundamentally flawed.

and i’m sorry to say, but you’re a bigot (or dare i say racist).

Timothy Soh: I guess you won't answer it. Instead you resort to personal attacks. Good grief.

Designated toilets are places where renovation workers collect water for cement or plaster work.

Workers often have wet cement on their boots. These drip on the floor and harden. You can't remove them off tiles or marble. Instead you have to hack the floor apart. Marble floors are about $700 a slab.

Toilets meant for workers to use have surfaces designed to either allow chipping or easy replacement. These are usually on the basement. Other toilets DO NOT have these floors.

Toilets meant for workers also have under sink taps for workers to collect water for their work.

Above all, it is to prevent cost prohibitive damage and shutting of toilet operations. Floor replacements can cost over 10K. You don't see the replacement or repair work because you don't work in such places overnight.

I was one of those workers too. Racist much?

But then again, what do I know? I'm the racist.

Lawrence Chong: Ya ya. And the contractors start using the common toilets and the same people will kpkb on how dirty the toilets is la. The workers stink lah, their clothing so stinky lah, why can't they use a designated toilets lah. Welcome to Complainapore!

But the penalty plus GST is out of this world though.

Timothy Soh: i don’t think its legal

Lawrence Chong: It is not, that's for sure

Ed: Compensation - IRAS

"If the compensation is punitive in nature, there is no supply. Therefore, the aggrieved party need not charge GST on the compensation he receives from the defaulting party."

However, the page also notes that "If the compensation is a payment for something which the aggrieved party has done in return for the defaulting party, it will be subject to GST."

This is presumably why wheel clamp fees are GST-inclusive

So in the above example the fine should be framed as a toilet cleaning fee

From OP:

Kiki Cantabile: There was once a signage to stop workers using staff toilet at one of our offices because we constantly found boot prints and urine sprayed all over the toilet bowl in the mornings where renovation works took place in the evening and night time. We are fine with the workers using the restroom but the signage were up after we found workers using the ladies because bootprints and sprayed urine were constantly present in the morning. There was no fines like this sign but workers were told to use other toilets instead.
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