the PAPUA POST

Follow the Adventure: The Brazeau's Serving In Papua

Kamar Kecil

Kamar Kecil, or the little room, is one of the terms for a washroom in Indonesia. Bathrooms in Indonesia can be quite different from those we are used to in North America, not only in aesthetics but in functionality and form as well.

The most common type of toilet in Indonesia is what we not so affectionately call a 'squatty potty'.  I tried to pick the least disgusting photo available so my apologies if you still find this nasty, though I guess this post in general is off colour and not table talk. Plunging on (pun intended), squatty potty's are fairly self-explanatory. You squat and take care of business but what happens next is a bit more confusing to westerners. You may notice the lack of toilet paper in the photo below and that is not specific to this bathroom it's just the way things generally work in Indo. There is a water source of sorts, which varies from place to place. In this photo it is a cistern and scoop, in others there is just a bucket and in the fancy joints there are hoses with spray nozzles. So, hands and water to clean your nether region, I think this is the reason that Indonesians don't use their left hand in interactions because it is considered the unclean hand. You never touch someone or give or receive with your left hand. If this is the reason, and I believe it is, then I am down for the no touchy with the left hand policy.

Western toilets are not as common but in places like airports, and the MAF office, signs have to be posted in order to  extend the life of the throne. You can usually see footprints on the seat regardless of the signage.

As a Canadian I quickly learned that Kleenex, hand wipes and sanitizer were staples when on a trip to town. When the new theater opened up in the capital I thought it was like being transported back to Canada. It was clean and shiny. I would take off my sandals and walk on the carpet to remember what it felt like. The washrooms had soap, towels, western toilets, stalls, and toilet paper. All the ladies were suitably impressed until one day when I walked in on the cleaning crew and witnessed the woman dipping the mop in the toilet and wiping the seats. I guess you can take the toilet to Indo but not the Indo out of the toilet.