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Most men in Singapore don't wash their hands with soap after toilet use

Most men in Singapore don't wash their hands with soap after toilet use
PHOTO: Pexels

Picture this: a man exits a toilet stall, adjusts his hair in the mirror and struts out, completely bypassing the sinks.

This isn't a scene from a horror movie - it's the grim reality of handwashing habits among Singaporean men, or the lack thereof.

Recent observations by TNP at 10 different shopping malls across the island, involving a total of 85 men, revealed a disturbing truth about men's hygiene habits.

Almost one in five men were observed exiting the toilets without so much as a drop of water touching their hands. More than half opted for a quick rinse, as if a splash of H2O can magically eradicate whatever bacteria they encountered during their time on the porcelain throne. A mere 23.5 per cent of men washed their hands with soap.

The worst offenders were spotted at Sun Plaza, Junction 8 and AMK Hub - not a single man went for a proper soap-lathering session.

On the other hand, Ion Orchard boasted a slightly more hygienic picture, with almost half the men observed using soap and not a single one skipping the sink.

These observations were not without incident. A man approached by TNP at JEM vehemently denied skipping the soap despite having been observed only wetting his hands at the sink.

Another one at 313@Somerset, when approached about the dangers of not washing his hands after a trip to the toilet, simply walked away. TNP observed that he did not wash his hands at all, seemingly because he was busy looking at something on his phone.

Most alarming was a man at Northpoint City who emerged from the cubicle, checked his hair in the mirror, and waltzed right out. He was sporting a Hai Di Lao staff uniform.

TNP reached out to the Health Promotion Board (HPB), which did not comment on whether TNP's numbers posed concern as it acknowledged lacking specific data on handwashing practices across Singapore.

HPB's hand hygiene strategies are not targeted towards men specifically, but rather focus on the general population.

But would a more targeted approach address what appears to be a disconcerting trend? Although 85 across 10 locations is not a good sample size to constitute a comprehensive study, the findings are nevertheless important.

They shine a light on a potentially widespread issue that deserves further investigation and, perhaps, intervention.

And while these observations focused solely on men, will similar trends emerge if we were to peek behind the frosted glass doors of the women's toilets?

For now, please forgive me if I refuse to shake your hand the next time I see you.

ALSO READ: Handwashing beats sanitiser for killing flu virus on hands

This article was first published in The New Paper. Permission required for reproduction.

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