Pay Singapore dollars, ringgit or yuan to use Woodlands coffee shop toilet

Pay Singapore dollars, ringgit or yuan to use Woodlands coffee shop toilet
CONVENIENT: Restroom attendant Xu accepts yuan and ringgit as the toilet is near the Woodlands Train Checkpoint and many tourists from Malaysia often go there.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily News

A public toilet in Woodlands accepts payment not just in Singapore dollars but also in Malaysian ringgit and Chinese yuan.

This facility is located at a 24-hour coffee shop at Block 1A, Woodlands Centre Road.

Restroom attendant Xu Liming, 68, told Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News in a report yesterday that he has accepted these "global" currencies for more than two years.

A sign at the entrance of the toilet indicates the price of entry: 20 Singapore cents or one yuan.

Mr Xu told Shin Min that he had chosen to accept yuan and ringgit as the toilet is near the Woodlands Train Checkpoint and many tourists from Malaysia often go there.

"Many tourists from Malaysia have only ringgit or yuan with them, and I can't possibly stop them from using the toilet," he said.

Mr Xu also prepares change in the three currencies.

He explained that entry to the toilet he manages was free when he first took the job.

But when many people started using it, he introduced charges to reduce the number of users, a tactic that paid off almost immediately.

The coffee-shop supervisor told Shin Min that the toilet was even used by some to brush their teeth or take a bath.

Executive director of the Restroom Association Singapore Xu Hongjin told Shin Min that the association rates public toilets only on cleanliness.

Charges are not under its jurisdiction but it notes they are usually introduced because of issues with those who patronise the facility.

Stallholders and coffee-shop patrons say the toilet has been cleaner after the introduction of charges.

A stallholder who gave his name as Mr Yang, 31, said the triple-currency practice was a good one, as not everyone who comes to Singapore has local currency.

A patron - who gave his name as Mr Chen, a 63-year-old retiree - approved of the practice as well, saying that a "global-currency toilet" keeps up with the times.

myp@sph.com.sg


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