World's first toilet park flush with success

Comment on this story


iol pic bp toilet theme park2

REUTERS

File photo: Kindergarten children walk past an installation shaped like Auguste Rodin's "The thinker" sat on a toilet at the Toilet Culture Park in Suwon, south of Seoul.

Suwon, South Korea - Rodin's Thinker is pondering even harder than usual as he sits astride a toilet at what has been dubbed the world's first theme park dedicated to the humble restroom - a monument to one South Korean man's vision.

The park, located about an hour outside of Seoul in the city of Suwon - otherwise known as the home of Samsung Electronics - centres around a toilet-shaped museum building that was once the home of Sim Jae-duck, founder and first president of the World Toilet Association.

Legend has it that Sim, a former Suwon mayor who made his fortune with a metal products business and was dubbed “Mr Toilet,” was born in his impoverished grandmother's outhouse.

“He is a man whose life literally began in a toilet and ended at a commode-shaped house,” said Lee Yeun-sook, manager of planning at the “Mr Toilet Sim Jae-duck Foundation”.

Sim, who died in 2009 at the age of 70, shot to fame in South Korea when he provided loos for soccer fans when the country hosted the 2002 World Cup.

The organisation he founded has as its mission spreading the benefits of hygienic toilets around the world, joining the like-minded World Toilet organisation based in Singapore.

iol pic bp toilet theme park8

Kindergarten children look at a statue of a Korean boy responding to the call of nature at the Toilet Culture Park in Suwon, south of Seoul.

REUTERS

Before Mr.Toilet's house was donated to Suwon city, visitors could book it for an overnight stay, but at the cost of $50 000 a night - the charge to raise money for a toilet building charity. There were no takers.

Other exhibits at the park include Korean traditional squat toilets, European bedpans, and Marcel Duchamp's sculpture “Fountain,” a porcelain urinal.

Suwon has since dubbed itself the mecca of toilet culture and has pushed to get toilets recognised as a central part of everyday life. It has funded toilet building programmes in developing countries such as the Philippines.

At home, toilet conditions have rapidly improved as South Korean living standards shot from poverty to riches in a generation.

“For our generation, a toilet was a very dirty and smelly place where you never wanted to go,” said Kim Gye-soon, a 52-year-old tourist at the theme park. “But now it is totally different.”

Suwon will continue the life-work of one of its most famous sons by constructing a toilet culture centre in 2014 near the current park, which has attracted about 40 000 visitors since it opened in July.

Like many of the best things in life, the toilet museum is free.

“Going to the restroom is as vital as eating. In a sense, nations and governments should work to make sure everyone has an equal access to toilets and feels happiness in there,” said Lee. - Reuters


sign up
 
 

Comment Guidelines



  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

     

Join us on

IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks IOL-Social networks

Business Directory