There comes a time in a person’s life when you have to decide whether to take a stand.
Even when you’re sitting down.
That moment came for me last week when I was sitting on the toilet bowl at home.
After claiming my prize in the daily Piñata Party in the Plants Vs Zombies 2 game on my brand new space grey iPhone 6s, I tapped on Facebook to check for news of nude photos of any other celebrities besides Justin Bieber.
Baby, baby, baby, oh my. He’s certainly not a baby anymore.
I also read on my timeline about a Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) maths question that has upset at least one person on Facebook.
The multiple-choice question is, how heavy are eight $1 coins? Is it 6g, 60g, 600g or 6kg?
I would be upset by this question too. It’s not clear enough.
It doesn’t specify whether the coins are the old $1 coins or the new $1 coins even though both types are still in wide circulation.
It would be like asking for the weight of the Acting Minister of Education without specifying which one, now that we have two Acting Ministers of Education.
I would assume that it’s Mr Ng Chee Meng and not Mr Ong Ye Kung, as Mr Ng is in charge of Schools and Mr Ong looks after Higher Education and Skills.
But it would be an assumption and you know what they say when you assume — it makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me” and anyone taking the PSLE.
Speaking of “ass”, I was about to reach for the toilet paper to wipe mine when I read something on my iPhone that stopped me in my tracks.
It was a news report about supermarket chains withdrawing paper products sourced from Asia Pulp & Paper Group (APP).
This comes after the Singapore Environment Council temporarily suspended the use of the Singapore Green Label certification for APP’s exclusive distributor, Universal Sovereign Trading, pending further investigations.
APP is one of five Indonesian companies named by the National Environment Agency as possible contributors to the haze. The Government has sent notices to these firms for possible transgressions of the Transboundary Haze Pollution Act.
Some people want to boycott APP products and urge others to do so too. If you hate the haze, don’t use APP products. One of APP’s products is Paseo toilet paper.
Alamak. That’s the brand of toilet paper in my toilet!
Why couldn’t I have read this after I had wiped myself?
That’ll teach me not to use the phone when I poop.
I don’t even usually get Paseo toilet paper at the NTUC FairPrice supermarket. I usually buy the cheaper FairPrice housebrand.
But one day, I was seduced by the Paseo Elegant four-ply because it was on offer — and it has dolphins printed on it.
I mean, come on, who can resist dolphins?
So I bought three packs with 10 rolls in each pack.
As I sat there in the toilet, I looked at the dolphins dolefully.
What should I do?
Wipe myself with the sea mammals and contribute to the haze?
Or spend the rest of the day with an uncomfortable feeling when I walk?
Should I stop using a company’s products just because the company may have been involved in harmful practices?
Then I looked at my iPhone, which had put me in this buttock-numbing dilemma.
Apple has long been criticised for not doing enough to improve the poor working conditions in the Chinese factories that manufacture the iPhone.
Yet, millions, including myself, still rush to get one every time Apple releases a new model.
Would it be hypocritical of me to take a stand against a company that may have contributed to the haze and not the company that may have not done enough to prevent the exploitation of workers just because the haze is closer to home?
“What do you think, dolphins?” I asked as I flushed them down the toilet.
It’s a relief not to have to walk funny. I still have two more packs of dolphin-print toilet rolls to go.
I wonder how much a bidet costs.
- Published in The New Paper, 11 October 2015