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Indonesian Urinal Guards

One small plastic guard, one big step for civilization. Investigating Indonesia’s urinal guards.

Many cultures seem to struggle coming up with ways to get men to not make a mess at public urinals. China infamously posts signs above them at eye level that basically say, “Just a small step forward is a big step for civilization.” It doesn’t work. Almost invariably, below a Chinese urinal sits a perpetual puddle. I don’t know if this is because men don’t like piss droplets splattering out at them or if there is some kind of contest to see how far they can shoot from, but guys in China stand relatively far back from the urinal.

You’d be a fool to do this in Indonesia.

Urinals here often come equipped with plastic guards. I can remember seeing these before at various places in the world but cannot exactly recall where. They are a good idea. These urinal guards successfully solve two problems:

1) They block piss droplets from splattering back up onto the pisser.
2) They ensure that the pisser must step very close to the urinal in order to land their stream above the guard. It’s a matter of physics — standing too far back results in hitting the guard, which makes a huge mess all over your pants.

While this is an adequate adaption to a fundamental design flaw in the standard urinal it would probably be more effective if the design was changed to begin with. Simply build urinals as cylindrical vats with a rising backboard hemming it in on three sides rather than an open trough. Then install them on the wall high enough to force the user to step up and hang it over.

Indonesia urinal guard
Filed under: Indonesia, Technology

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3546 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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