Opinion: No “Washy”, No “Touchy”

by Julius Kensan
17th July 2019
No, our Editor-in-Chief Julius Kensan is not giving an account of his encounter with a streetwalker, but rather the prevailing habit among the Jakartans who do not wash their hands after their bathroom deeds.

At the risk of grossing you out, I just have to ask: Why do so many Jakartans skip on washing their hands after bathroom deeds? I’m confident that any explanation pertaining to the benefits of hand-washing would be redundant here as that falls in Hygiene 101. Granted, I can only speak for my fellow brothers since I’ve never been to the ladies’ room before. But ever since I’ve brought this topic to my colleagues, I’ve learned that both genders are equally guilty.

For years, I’ve always believed that what other people choose to do with their personal hygiene is none of my business. It’s not until visiting F&B establishments has become a part of my responsibilities for working in a lifestyle publication that I began to appreciate good hygiene practices, and more so from strangers. 

A few months back, I witnessed a guy – presumably a kitchen staff based on his uniform – casually exiting the gents room as he skips the sink. My first thought was to follow him into the mall and find out which restaurant he works for, then vow to never patronise it for as long as I live. Alas, he was gone before I could track him down. Why? Because I had to wash my hands first, that’s why.

Occasionally, I’ve caught people practise questionable hygiene habits, like washing their hands straight from the urinal flush after peeing. I simply can’t wrap my head around that. Then, some practise personal hygiene at the expense of others. My colleague once recounted how her friend would use the same tissue to flush the toilet after wiping her privates. I recoiled in horror as if petrified by Medusa.

Indeed, washing your hands after going to the bathroom is not just for your own good, but to those around you as well. At least that’s what I believe. Think of the legion of things you touch throughout the day: elevator buttons, escalator handrails, overhead MRT handgrip, and so on and so forth. That’s not including the people that you’re going to come in contact with, even by a simple handshake. If you have no qualms in touching your partner and children or preparing food for your loved ones with unwashed hands, then I can only wish you all the best.  

But to all of my family, friends and colleagues who are reading this and are not doing what you need to do after your bathroom breaks. Please put your hands in your pockets where I can see them and do not touch anything (or at least me) until your next contact with water. Thank you.