I wrote and designed this little poster. It says: Dear ladies, This is our toilet! Let's keep it clean and respect the labour of the cleaning lady. It all depend on us. Thank you. Somebody still did not flush after seeing this.
We cleaned the sink and toilet entirely after we requested to lock the toilet for resident-students. And flowers do wonders here. Thanks to our Dean who listened to us and made this possible.
I still don't understand why it has no toilet seat. We are told to buy it ourselves. Previously, more than 10 people use it, not to mention female guests of male students. It was the place where devils of human souls danced wildly.
Judging from the condition of official notices, its not hard to imagine how interested they are.
But!!!! There is hope!! We have civic-minded Russian students who pasted this recently on top of the sink. It says: Have conscience please! Do not stuck the sink with rubbish. You could feel her anger! I should learn for her!
This is classic! It is at one of the cleanest toilet in our dorm, used by Russian female students. It basically says, please aim well when you do your business. Please flush after use. Judging from how clean this toilet is, does it mean that it is very effective?
This is the condition when the cleaning lady doesn't come during the weekends. No duty roster, no willing hands. I couldn't find a big plastic bag to replace it, hence I couldn't clear it when this photo was taken. Nasir and Narendra from Blangadesh and Nepal always help me to clear it during weekends.
Students are meant to chuck their rubbish, brush their teeth, hang their clothes and wash their clothes here -- the washing area. Some people don't behave and some people suffer. I don't come here at all. It makes me sick.
I must once again qualify that I am not taken aback by the condition of the room, purely by virtue of my friends' relentless help. However for students who only came to Russia, knowing nothing, speak little and do not even know where to buy a kettle, Russian dorm could be a lingering nightmare to start with. To many of the Russians I know, any discussion about the their dorm is an 'accursed problem' or ''прoклятый вoпрoс".
I could not help but wonder the great disparity between Russians' comfortable and lavishly decorated homes (with plants, carpets, luxurious-looking drapes and curtains) and the condition of dormitory in general, or at least what I have seen so far. Is this 'negligence' deliberate to challenge foreigners' nerves or purely we foreigners have to align with this situation? The low cost in maintaining the dorm, a remnant of its socialist past, seems to perpetuate a legitimate indifference to the way less well-off foreign students live. Some students who have a choice could rent a flat, but most of them do not.
Just after I started to enjoy the private toilet (for two Chinese, one Russian) locked entirely for us, an official came to our dorm to pass questionaires to us. It was meant to find out how satisfied we are with dormitory, and the prospect of living in Russia in future and so forth. I was habitually and brutally honest with what I had to say, I hope someone will listen, things will improve. Not only for ourselves, but for the future too.
Most of all, I want to underscore THIS hope of mine, once and for all -- with a responsible management, and more sensible usage of public resources on part of students, our sweet and dedicated and aged Russian cleaning lady, Alexandra Petrovna will have a less devastating time. Once I could feel she was almost in tears, but she didn't complain at all. Or she has no one to listen to her?
Locking the toilet for private use is one small step to improve her life, and of course my life. And I warned people who use the toilet to respect her hard work, in a poster I designed for the toilet. Even after that, it was not flushed once. Deadly mad, I knocked on their doors and confronted everyone. And I swear that I will lock it with a new lock if I find it filthy again. And now it is easy to detect who is the culprit. I think the 'police' deep-seated in the Singaporean soul is fiercely at work. I may even kill, metaphorically speaking, someone for it.
It pains me greatly to see how she had to tuck herself into the garbage-filled. flies-infested washing area every morning, where potholes and broken egg-shells make her life utterly hell. At least in my view.
I promised her when she does not come to us during weekends, I will clear the garbage in the common kitchen for 20 over people. And all she needs to do is to provide garbage bags for me. (As I made mistake by buying a smaller version) I wouldn't mind to step into the washing area to chuck the garbage, which I have been avoiding by going to the other cleaner 'Russian' one, and make our live seemingly human, if not make her life slightly better.
Why Russians themselves don't feel sorry for her? Or am I too emotional or overly sympathetic? She is paid to clean the place, hence she should suffer the ghastly sight?
Russian students who live on the other side of the building exercise discipline by pasting notices to remind people to behave. Hence Russians are seemingly and inherently clean and considerate, so what is wrong with dirty dormitory in Russia? Lack of effective governance? Inadequate resources? Or blame the foreigners? Or human being without strict rules will not conform or behave?
I want to know why, my dear Russia. Or what shall I do next besides locking the toilet?