Odessa – Write your own headline (It would be funny if it weren’t so sad)December 28, 2016
In local news a headline appeared that simply demanded further reading. It read “In Odessa region a school toilet was inaugurated: A ribbon cutting and dancing”.
It has to be said that your author’s parents always took a very dim view of what they termed “toilet humour”, which in their definition had little to do with funny toilets or anecdotes about ablutions and the physical activities that occur within, but rather humour that was more than a little “off colour” or “beyond the pale”.
However, erudite as the readership of this blog is, there will be those that will create their own headlines for this event, and others that will find the entire event “off colour”.
One of the rural schools in Rozdilna Rayon (Odessa Oblast) quite literally had a ribbon cutting event to open a toilet at the school!
Perhaps it is right that toilets in a school are a reason to be celebrated – particularly if there have been none prior. A reader may ponder just how many student hours have been saved in the absence of “Please Miss, can I go to the toilet?” if there is no toilet to go to.
Nevertheless, most readers would expect that a nation that can provide electricity, heating, teachers and an education at a school in rural Ukraine, to also be able to provide ablutions. Surely toilets in a school are more of an expectation than something to celebrate?
It has to be said that the blog gets invitations to various events, many of which are nothing more than the official opening of an official envelope, an hour or so of polite chit-chat and perhaps a few nibbles and away.
Not once has an invitation arrived to attend the opening of a school toilet. Clearly the blog sits upon the wrong distribution/invitation lists for such events. However, over the past decade or more in Odessa, there is no recollection of a ribbon cutting ceremony for a school toilet.
Readers, ask ye not where are the doors, for no answer can be given. Perhaps the juvenile sensitivities of rural Ukrainian pupils are far less than those of the juvenile sensitivities of its urban school children. All things considered, perhaps this is a such a step to modernity (and sanitation) compared to what existed before. A reader may well ask what existed before. Perhaps the children were simply defecating in the school playground for the amusement of lost tourists passing by?
How many local politicians and dignitaries actually get invited, and turn up, and take part in ribbon cutting ceremonies for school toilets? Obviously Felix Segal the current Chairman of the District Council decided it was a worthy photo op – as did several other officials.
With such a major blessing being bestowed upon the school, a reader is now wondering where the dancing girls are. Fear not, some female students indeed put on a dance to celebrate they can now, albeit unladylike owing to the toilet design being little more than a wipe clean hole in the floor, go to the toilet.
What school principle has their teenage females dancing for officials to celebrate the opening of a school toilet – something which the school should have.
How to interpret this entire event?
To be angry and dismayed that school toilets are now ribbon cutting PR events for local politicians? Undoubtedly. That school principles have their girls dance in gratitude for such retro-Soviet privacy-less ablutions? Certainly.
Yet mindful of a father that forever proclaimed “sarcasm is the lowest form of wit” it is still rather difficult not to arrive at numerous sarcastic headlines.
“Pupils who couldn’t give a sh*t before, now do!”
“Ukraine takes another step toward Europe – toilets opened in schools with due pomp and ceremony!”
“Ukraine leaps ahead of Europe with the ultimate socially liberal “no privacy” toilets for school kids!”
“Environmentally friendly Ukraine bans natural and man-made doors on school toilets”
“Scandal at Ukrainian rural school – pupils resort to wiping their arse with ribbon due to toilet paper shortage” (there’s none in the photos).
Naturally when the costs of the toilets becomes known and the inevitable budget plundering scandal rears its inevitable head, the toilet humour headlines will not end there.
In the meantime, a reader is left to make their choice of dismay that school toilets have become ribbon cutting events with dancing girls (pupils), or whether in the festive period to engage in their own headline writing for this incredibly bizarre PR event.