People can't flush their rage at a lavish custom toilet ordered built by Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on her royal visit to an impoverished area of Cambodia.
The custom-built throne for the princess cost around $40,000 and was installed at the Yeak Lom Lake in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province.
To make things worse, the princess never even graced the commode with her royal bum.
“The princess did not go inside the bathroom; she just looked at it from outside and took some pictures,” community leader Ven Churk told AFP.
Churk said local community leaders had been told to make sure Sirindhorn’s visit went well or risk losing control of the nature reserve to the government.
Thai building firm SCG Cement-Building Materials was tasked with the toilet job, bringing in contractors and special materials from Thailand.
“Normal people can’t use a [royal] toilet,” a manager from SCG said.
The outhouse measuring 8 square meters is completely air-conditioned with an imported commode. It took nearly two weeks for it to be constructed and it consumed 66 times the average annual salary in Cambodia, The Guardian reports.
After her three-day visit, the princess' special commode is now removed and the building will be converted into a tourist office on the lake.
The custom toilet has attracted a lot of criticism from the people because a large proportion of Cambodia’s population has trouble accessing any toilet at all. Instead, the impoverished population is forced to defecate in the open.
About 33% of schools in Cambodia have no toilet facilities, according to data from the Cambodian ministry of education. NGOs estimate that the figure could be as high as 80% in rural areas such as Ratanakiri where the princess had the toilet built just for the sake of her two-hour visit.
Thailand's monarchy is among the world's richest.
“Sirindhorn’s bathroom cost around 130 times more than a standard public toilet for the region,” Channy Or, director of the Cambodian Rural Development Team, said.
The princess is also donating a health center on her visit, but for the same cost, instead of taking two pictures and leaving her custom toilet un-flushed, the princess could have provided villagers with proper sanitation.
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