Potty Problems

The richest neighborhood in South Korea has them:

“A first grader in an elementary school in Jongno District, central Seoul, heads for the toilet immediately upon arriving home every afternoon. After a couple of weeks at the school, the young student told his parents he couldn’t bear to use the grubby and outdated facilities at his school.

‘When I visited the school, there were only toilets that students have to squat to use,’ said his mother. ‘They weren’t much different from the toilets we used when I was a student. I’m worried that he’ll get constipated or suffer from bladder problems.’

This is a widespread problem in primary and secondary schools across Korea, with Seoul being no exception – even in its celebrated Gangnam District.”

I’ve encountered very few scary bathrooms in South Korea.  You will, on occasion, be forced to use a squat toilet (I was at a very remote temple, natch) but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dirty.  You have a porcelain receptacle and a flusher and everything, you just have to use them thigh muscles.

The article does go on to mention heating and air-conditioning issues, which are legendary.  Korean elementary school kids will routinely keep on their heavy winter jackets in the colder months, and if they’re lucky their moms will have provided them with those weird little chemical heat bags that NFL quarterbacks use so their fingers don’t freeze together.

At my college, it’s a mixed bag.  Some of the older buildings have been renovated recently so we have good heat and AC.  There’s one building though that’s basically a furnace in the summer and a freezer in the winter.  I’ve been here long enough to be able to pull some strings if I’m ever supposed to teach in there.

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