I have made no secret of my dislike for monarchies — an illogical and wasteful system of government, including the maintenance of “figure head” royal families as in England. The lunacy of such systems was brought home with the visit of Thai Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to one of Cambodia’s poorest areas (where sanitation is virtually unavailable). The government will spend over $40,000 to build her a luxury toilet for one night with silver railings, tile roofing, and air conditioning. It will them be disassembled after her departure. This is taking the concept of a hereditary throne too far.
The visit of a Thai princess to one of Cambodia’s poorest provinces has sparked controversy after at least $40,000 was spent building an air-conditioned outhouse in anticipation of her arrival.
The luxury toilet has been built on the banks of the protected Lake Yeak Laom in Ratanakkiri province, where the princess will briefly stop to relax for a day. Local officers said that they believe the cost will be well above $40,000. Officials said that they may leave the structure but remove the toilet facilities, explaining that “If you have a king—well, just, normal people can’t use the king’s toilet.”
This is not a unique position. My late father, Jack Turley, built an award-winning modern factory in England, which was to be opened by the Queen. His office received detailed designs for a bathroom stall to be constructed for the Queen and a special toilet to be installed — despite a large number of brand new bathrooms through the facility. He balked at the stupidity of it all but his English counterparts carried out the construction.
The director of the Cambodian Rural Development Team, Channy Or, noted that the royal bathroom in Cambodia would cost around 130 times more than a standard public toilet for the region and the money could have brought sanitation to whole communities for the first time.