Travel Photo of the Week: The Most Graphic Toilet Sign Ever

Posted by - January 26, 2012 | Category: Peculiarities

I had debated for quite some time whether I should put this up on my site or not. I like to keep it light and airy in these parts — you know, the whole humour thing and all.

When I first glimpsed at this sign, I thought – that’s hysterical. I mean, how funny that some people need a diagram to tell them how to use a toilet.



I took this in the men’s room at a pool hall in Manado, Indonesia.

But after taking a closer look, there’s nothing funny about this sign at all.

The series of graphic photos at the bottom made me kind of sick that I had even chuckled at it in the first place.

*Click on image to enlarge



The plain truth is, many folks in Asia who are used to squat toilets are unsure of how to navigate a Western toilet.

And before you judge, think about the first time you were confronted with a bidet. Or a Japanese-style toilet. Or even a squat toilet.

Thankfully, for most westerners, even the worst outcome is comical – a wet foot, soaked trousers, or water (or some other liquid) in places it shouldn’t be.

Not so in this case. As the photos illustrate — the result can be catastrophic.

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61 comments - add one
  1. WOW. That is DEFINITELY the most graphic toilet sign I have ever seen! It’s completely true – when I was 16 and in Italy for the first time, the bidet concept baffled me. I’m glad you threw that in there – what may be common sense in one culture is completely foreign to another.

  2. Thanks so much for this post. First, the sign was funny and I had an early morning laugh. THEN the pictures were DISGUSTING and it kept me from eating the pizza sitting here beside me, keeping me on my diet. Bonus!

  3. That’s terrible. I’ve seen the top part before in other places and thought it was funny. I mean, when I started travelling to Asia I would have wished there was a sign explaining which way to stand when using a squat toilet! But you’re right – unless you get your foot lodged in one of the squat toilets, using a Western style toilet wrong is actually more dangerous. The fact that they have to include these pics probably indicates that people really need that deterrent.

  4. holy sh*t … due to my terribly slow connection, i clicked on the image and waited till it loads up, got up and went back to my pc and saw this bloody thing!!!

    never thought that this could be dangerous!

    1. The woman stood on the toilet seat and it collapsed under her weight. It broke, and if you’ve ever seen broken porcelain, it’s worse than glass. It pierced her, and deep…

    1. It was in the men’s room at a pool hall where, surprisingly, no one was drinking liquor. I guess a kid could have seen it. Sorry to give you nightmares!!

      And thanks for popping by — I love sandbox people! 🙂

  5. When I used to work on a ship that went to India we would have footprints all over the toilet seats. I had no idea of the danger though. Looks like I may have to make a sign!

  6. I am currently working in the hills in Laos. Our mine site has a very similar series of pictures on the wall. But the thing is, it’s a different incident. So this must happen regularly… Scary!

  7. am i the only one here? but this ‘graphic’ sign is actually one heck of a great piece of graphic communication. i mean that sign needs no language (except for the internationally accepted ‘X’ marks the ‘Don’t Do It’ symbol). It communicates and does so unforgettably.

    And oh, as an Indian even I chuckled at Crocodile Dundee.

  8. It is not only in Asia, they should put up these signs, even here in Switzerland and Germany, many women (still) prefer not to sit on it due to concern of hygiene! I understand it, if it is an utterly unclean toilet on the highway (mark it, developed world: the highway loos in South Africa are clean!), but not in toilets, which are cleaned and disinfected just after you have left!


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