Posted by: explodingman | August 28, 2007

Esplanade’s Three-Second Taps

Ah, the Esplanade. Its nice to see our little red dot aim for something as iconic as the Sydney Opera House. Its touted as a “world class” performance and arts center, and I can personally say that the concert hall is pretty fantastic, especially its excellent acoustics.

Alas, it only takes one misguided committee decision to cause consternation for millions of visitors to the center every year, who are most likely to take a leak in the washrooms.

The way the taps in the washrooms work makes it seem like the Esplanade is in a country with constant drought and water shortage. You’ve got to put your hands in a very precise location before the tap will release the water. Then, you’ve got a mere three seconds to wash your hands.

After that, the water stops. Move your hands around the sensor. Nothing. You got to move your hands away from the tap, wait a few seconds for the electronics to go “hand is gone, allow water again” before attempting another miserable three-second squirt.

This is taking the “save water campaign” a little too far. First we have the twist-it-on, twist-it-off taps, which the third-world-brained nitwits in our first-world country played too many a prank and spoiled it for the rest of us.

(These are also the inconsiderate buffoons who stick so much gum on lift buttons, buses and public benches that the authorities had to ban chewing gum, and make Singapore famous the world over, albeit in an infamous way.)

So the authorities decreed that all public washrooms must use the press-and-hold taps in the name of saving water. These taps are infuriating to use, especially when programmed to shut off in mere seconds. We “wash hands”, not “wash one hand after the other”.

And now the first-world, high-tech, electronic-operated, no-button, three-second tap.

It all comes down to how the general population is and wants to be regarded. Are we sheep to be constantly subject to architectures of control? Or are we people who can be trusted to behave in a civil manner?

I’ll leave the last word to Jerry Seinfeld, taken from his live show “I’m Telling You for the Last Time”:

What is the story on the sinks in airport bathrooms
That they will not give us a twist-it-on twist-it-off, human-style faucet?
Is that too risky for the general population?
Too dangerous? We gotta install the one-handed, spring-loaded,
pain-in-the-ass Alcatraz-style faucet.
You know, those ones you gotta go: “Hey I got a little water there”
“Hey I got a couple of drops.”
What is it they think we would do with a faucet?
Turn them all on full, run out into the parking lot,
laughing, pushing each other into the bushes?


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