For the purpose of this column, I googled this question and found that most of the answers range from “every day” to “once a week”.
But my favourite answer is “when it smells”.
I’m not proud to admit that I usually don’t wash my towel for weeks – or is it months? I mean, who bothers to keep track of this sort of thing?
I have more important stuff on my mind.
Like whether Singapore’s new Cabinet will have the right mix of experience and fresh perspectives to meet the challenge of addressing the concerns of an increasingly demanding electorate.
And whether I should see the new Pirates Of The Caribbean movie in 2-D or pay extra for 3-D.
Anyway, I have been using my current towel for so long that members of my family are now referring to it as the “corpse towel”.
Apparently, it stinks like a dead person.
My retort to them: Hey, at least I didn’t shower in “corpse water” like the residents of Block 686B Woodlands Drive 73.
By now, of course, people around the world know about the dead body found in the rooftop water tank of that unfortunate Woodlands block last week.
Some foreign news outlets ran the story with the headline “Singapore locals cook with corpse water”.
Now there’s an idea for Violet Oon’s next cookbook – Peranakan corpse water recipes.
The residents should count themselves lucky. At least they weren’t attacked by a ghost in the bathtub like in the movie Dark Water (both Japanese and Hollywood versions, although the former is better), which also featured a corpse in a water tank.
But I am in awe of brand new Member of Parliament Vikram Nair, who went to the block and made a video of himself bravely drinking the water straight from the tap to prove that the water is now safe.
But what I really want to see is what he did after he drank the water.
Did he rush to the toilet once the camera was turned off? Was there any vomiting and/or diarrhoea? Was there an exorcist on stand-by?
No, wait, that’s another movie.
If this had happened three weeks earlier, it would've been a major election issue: "We don't care about the rising cost of living or high ministers' salaries! We just don't wanna drink no stinking corpse water!"
It's all psychological.
That’s why our Government had the foresight to prepare Singaporeans for just such a crisis by introducing Newater to us years ago.
Surely, drinking corpse water can’t be much worse than drinking recycled sewage water.
No, wait, I take that back – it’s much, much, much worse! Newater is at least clear. The corpse water was reportedly “slightly yellow and frothy”.
Fortunately, no corpse has been found in the water tank at my block so far, so I can shower without fear.
Now if only I can find my towel. I hope my family haven’t buried it.
- Published in The New Paper, 22 May 2011
Just wanted you to know I really enjoyed your corpse water article. And I totally get your corpse towel issue! Err.. so was it buried or cremated?
MY REPLY: I suspect my family might have buried my towel at sea like Osama.
UPDATE: Water tank at Woodlands Block 686B removed