Tell it to SunStar: Public peeing

I’M SURE I’m not the only Pinay who grinds her teeth when she sees men urinating in public. It’s a widespread phenomenon (if that’s the right word for it) that one sees practically everywhere in this country.

Not long ago I even spotted a scruffy man in a cul-de-sac on busy Escario St. squatting and relieving himself. Riding in a slow-moving taxi I wished I had a camera to catch the scene. I don’t know what I’d do with such a photo besides show it to friends to shock them, or maybe take it to a newspaper to see if they’d like to run it along with an appeal for the government to do something about it, like pass laws against such acts, arrest and fine men peeing in public, and perhaps going as far as to publish their pictures in the papers to shame them, just like Veco does to shame electricity thieves whom they catch.

All this made me recall reading some time ago about public defecation in India, but that’s understandable because of that country’s huge population and dearth of public toilets. The same was apparently true of Jakarta, a city that is similarly populous.

Public toilets are luxuries one finds only in cities in developed countries. In the underdeveloped ones, portable toilets (or “porta-potties” as they’re also called) are sometimes put up during public events to accommodate people attending large outdoor events, and also athletes as well as spectators during marathons.

I was recently surprised to read in the online New York Times that one can sometimes find folk engaged in public peeing in America’s largest city, New York. I learned this while reading about the former mayor, Michael Bloomberg, who recently declared that he was entering the already crowded presidential race.

The article dwelt on the many good things he had accomplished during his mayoral term in that great city, like having lowered the crime rate, banning smoking in public places, eliminating trans fats in food, building more green parks and other amenities.

In the comment section of that article, a Manhattan resident who called herself a Bloomberg admirer, was quoted as saying that she “loved” the fact that he had made it illegal for anyone to pee in public. Of course it’s unrealistic and unfair to compare Cebu City with one of the first world’s largest cities. It made me wish that men standing against trees and walls while doing their business would be arrested (which of course would never happen).

It also made me commiserate with my Pinay sisters who surely develop bladder problems because they can’t just stop on any street, like the men do, to answer nature’s call. (By Isabel Escoda, Cebu City)