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Public Urination

09 October, 2003

By Ali Jafri


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Water is a necessity for all the living beings. Nature has blessed all the creatures with a mechanism to discharge the waste out of their body to feel relax. One of the methods used by humans is called Urination, a process of disposing urine from the urinary bladder. This process of urination is usually under self control. When we loose this control over urination, it is called urinary incontinence. Normally it happens with children of under age, while elders have the capacity and maturity to control it till they reach in an isolated place to escape embarassement and at the sametime feel releived with a discharge.

 From an evolution process to industrial revolution, humans have successfully tranformed into a civilized society. In majority of countries, humans usually urinate in a toilet. Public toilets are often separate for men and women. Those for men often have also urinals. These may have partitions between them to avoid men being able to see the penises of other men. In contrast, the subcontinent has a peculiar culture which accepts public urniation. Men are seen urinating openly in public places without a fear of any embarrasment. There are no hard and fast rules on how to take a pee, you can simply unzip your pants or your "Shalwar" to aim it at anyplace you feel comfortable. Normally, men like to aim at the walls on the road side. These walls don't have to be in any isloated places, you are free to do it right in the middle of a bazaar, and if you don't happen to find any wall, you can use a main hole passage to fill it up. Amuzingly, you get to see lot of walls in the city with warning labels written on them, "No Urination Please."

Waiting to reach toilets may require patience and tolerance, but that is not a part of our culture whose foundation is based emotionalism and which lacks rationale. We are so fond of crticizing the whole western world for obscenity and vulgarity, but find no room in any column of the media to crticize our own obscene culture of public urination. Interesting, you do find lot of religious extremists while taking out the procession in their daily routine of some crticism, they also, in the heat of the moment, make sure to destroy public property which may include public toilets.

Western-civ, which on one hand has introduced much civilized manners of adequates, has also given humans comfort through innovative architects of toilets and bathrooms. Accessories of flush, sinks, showers, bath tubs and tabs have been one of the various innovations and luxuries of using toilets introduced by the western world, but we on the other hand are only busy in criticizing their culture and never appreciate their innovations which has led towards a more better and logical civic sense.

One wonders, when a person who works eight hours a day and has no access to any toilets in a near surrounding, then where should he/she go to discharge of what he has been drinking all day. He has a genuine need to take out the waste material out of his body, but that doesn't mean that he should do it right outside his shop, office or a building. He should realize that if he is drinking eight to ten glasses of water or other soda drinks in a day, he may feel the pressure to relieve it too. Now, the only question remains whether he has the awareness to realize that if he's discharging publicly, it may be too embarassing for him and others as well to watch him. Unfortunately, this question remains a mystery in our culture. Apparently, majority of us are least interested to reach the state of realization that public urination has seroius health consequences because of hyegienic reasons. At the sametime our religion Islam, which calls cleanliness as half of our faith, has also considered public urination illegal and encourage it in isolation and with cleanliness.

The practice of public urination only exhibits one's habbit of doing things in hurry. It appears, as a nation we are in hurry to discharge our waste where-ever we feel like to do so. Perhaps we are never in hurry to consider even for a second that this higly obscene act may be too embarassing for others to watch. If we had been aware of it, then we would have rather hurried to start building up toilets to save us from this embarrasment. To build a toilet in the shop or inside office doesn't require us to apply for a grant from IMF or world bank.  If we can rise a full structured building, a small, yet a clean toilet could be more than a wishful thinking for it.

Such a thought of avoiding public urination only depends if we ever consider it as an element of embarrassment. If we don't then we don't have the right to crticize other cultures for spreading obscenity and vulgarity in public. May be for a change we should allow public kissing of opposite sex in our culture, which is a much more scenic view than seeing somene urinating in front of you. 

 End.

Reader Comments:

Freedom of Toilet instead of Freedom of Speech

May be this is our pathetic way to say that Freedom of Toilet instead of Freedom of Speech!

Agha, Pakistan - 09 October, 2003

A Cultural "Downpour" ... Showing Disrespect to the Society ...

Karachi: Well, Mr. Ali Jafri has certainly gone, where others have been afraid of venturing to !! There is no doubt that we, Pakistanis have become used to certain anomalies in our culture, which directly clash with our puritan religous teachings. Like this one, the urge to make a point thru publicly urinating, is a protest of the individuals, about the deprivations in their lives. The deprivation from merit, justice, and lastly, but not the least, from places for use as public toilets.

Simran H. Syed, Pakistan - 09 October, 2003

Unsusual topic!!

Great to read an article on something of common nature and yet we don't speak up.

Sunny, Pakistan - 09 October, 2003

Very interesting

What I found interesting is the subtext of how we all are so ready to judge each other (OK, he didn't explicitly say that, but I doubt you would disagree with me on this) and each feel that they have a monopoly on what it means to be civilized. Both sides could do with a little more open mindedness and perhaps some of the divide would be allowed to close. We all pretty much want the same things after all: comfort, security and a good family life.

Steve, United Kingdom - 09 October, 2003

Same sight with different eyes.

An act considered normal to one person can be highly offensive to another. Best, as they say, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do". Do not judge others by your cultural standards when in their culture.
Use their eyes.

Tod Jackson, Canada - 10 October, 2003

Urinating anywhere in Pakistani society

This urination business is more done by male because they dont feel ashamed and disturbed and proclaim that they are civilised and better species. It does not need too much ability to critisize and your views are absolutely well worded. They should not pick fingers on western cultures they behave in a manner which is very civilised.

Mohammad Akram, United Arab Emirates - 11 October, 2003

Swings and roundabouts

I agree totally with Ali Jafri about his comments but I think we have to take something else into account as well. How many Public toilets do we see in Pakistan? While I am in no way defending the men who do what they do, lets make them a few more public toilets and then see how it pans out.

Naim Khan, United Arab Emirates - 13 October, 2003

Public Toilets or Public Awareness

The need of the time is not much of public toilets but of public awareness about it. I absolutely agree with the author that we need awareness that even if we have to relieve, we must first find space in isolation to do it, but not infront of public.

Ijaz, Pakistan - 14 October, 2003

wow....

too bad they never teach us such things in school,perhars we would have a better understanding of the state of things in other areas.to just ... pee in public? that to me is either plain barbaric or arrogant,either way.but in defense,the u.s. has some practices that,although i love to live here,i don't quite like myself.

deanna, United Kingdom - 17 October, 2003

I don't understand

Where are the women in Pakistan urinating? This isn't a question of vulgarity or rudeness, but of physical necessity. So, please someone tell me, because I'm sure the women in Pakistan are NOT hiking up their skirts in the street when they need to pee.

dionne, Canada - 17 October, 2003

Piss Off

I will continue to urinate where and when I want. Let my urine flow to the sea carrying copies of your printed rubbish with it!

Zamfir, United States Minor Outlying Islands - 17 October, 2003

What a Pisser!

Gee! What a pisser!!

v.bowen, Pakistan - 17 October, 2003

Same thing in India

Same $#)! going on in India. All over the place, all the time.

Geo, Pakistan - 18 October, 2003

Fetish

I think public urination can attract lots of tourists because in the west many people have a pee fetish. Pakistan may prove a heaven for them!

Nofil, Pakistan - 18 October, 2003

Stinky People

Urine stinks. Don't you all get tired of that? I am sympathetic to your plight. I find Mr. Syed's comments especially on point here. But you guys need to show some respect for yourselves and your females and your children.

RP, United Kingdom - 19 October, 2003

Take pride In your Culture

You are quite correct to citicize the west for it's oscenity and vulgarity. People in the UK are subjected to far worse obscenities than 2 people of opposite sexes kissing in public which are from the choice of the offeders, Where as urination is a normal human function for which we in the west can be taken to court and fined or even imprisoned if we are caught in the act of public urination (even in a secluded place)while other blatenly obscene acts are ignored.

Yvonne Carol, United Arab Emirates - 22 October, 2003

Interesting

Urinating in public is far less prevalent in Pakistan than in India or indeed many parts of Europe. After the nightclubs close it is a common sight to see people f both genders relieving themselves in public.

Don Dennis, United Arab Emirates - 23 October, 2003

Public facilities

A natural call is beyond human and animal control. Majority of the people, who are working out site or ill travelers has often urge to pee. The solution of this is the public facilities and that is not common in the third world. Public should demand that any business building must have an excess for the restroom or toilet. In the hot weather, people must drink plenty of liquid to avoid dehydration, kidney and cardiac problems. It is a government as well as businessman obligations to establish a sanitary system for the better hygienic health. Fulfilling the necessary requirements can modify human behavior and it needs awareness in the society. Thank you.

aabshaarayPakistan, United Kingdom - 30 October, 2003

SO WHAT?

how does it matter if the same thing happens at india? mind your business first

shafifa, Pakistan - 13 November, 2003

Condition of public toilets

Some people raise that there are just not enough public toilets. However, the condition of a public toilet might change your mind. Most public toilets will make you wonder how one could miss the hole, but then again, I guess the vulgar graffiti on the walls can be distracting.

Yaser Khan, Pakistan - 29 November, 2003

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