Friday, May 18, 2007

Korea Poop Wars

As a member of the press (well, kind of), I find myself on all sorts of mailing and emailing lists. Some are quite helpful, some are less so, and some are just sort of odd.

So I open my mailbox a few days ago, and what do I find? TOILET WORLD #1 (meaning the first issue, not an issue dedicated to number one-ing). They even have a website, handily available in Korean, Spanish, French and Arabic.

The World Toilet Association, that newsletter tells me, grew out of the Korea Toilet Association, which was founded in 1999. The newsletter features a Q&A with toilet ambassador Jeffery D. Jones (on page 10, although the About Jones section at the end is nearly as large as the interview) and a related AP article by Burt Herman (page 11).

Although the urge to make dumb jokes is high (toilet humor), the WTA points out the 2.6 billion people in the world are without access to adequate toilet facilities, which is a direct contributor to several nasty infectious diseases.

(Coincidentally, Korea is also home to one of the more important groups tackling those very diseases, the International Vaccine Institute, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary later this year. A great group, that is really making a difference around the developing world. Believe me, you do NOT want to catch Shigella ever).

Anyhow, if you would like to learn more about toilet culture, the WTA is having its inaugural general assembly meeting at the COEX Convention Center in Seoul on Nov. 21-25.

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