Cambodia builds $40,000 toilet for Thai princess to use for 1 night
Toilet to be destroyed before outhouse converted into office
In a poverty-stricken region of Cambodia, the country has built a toilet estimated to cost about $40,000 US for the upcoming visit of a Thai princess.
Once she's gone, however, the toilet will be destroyed.
Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will be visiting the Ratanakiri province, one of the least developed regions in Cambodia, as the first part of her three-day visit to the country.
Waiting for her near Yeak Loam Lake will be an air-conditioned, eight-metre-square outhouse, reported the Guardian. She will use the toilet for one night before it is thrown away.
SCG Cement-Building Materials, a Thai construction company, spent more than two weeks building the toilet.
The Khmer Times reported that $40,000 was likely a lowball estimate due to the sheer number of workers and imports from Bangkok, according to the Independent.
"If you have a king, well, just, normal people can't use the king's toilet," said an SCG manager to the Khmer Times.
After the visit, the bathroom will become an office for the local government, according to the Guardian.
The outhouse costs, however, 130 times more than a public toilet, said Channy Or, the director of the Cambodian Rural Development Team, adding that Thailand could have spent "$1,000 or $2,000 on a good bathroom and then give the rest to the communities and villages."
"The royals are totally out of touch with the world of ordinary Thais and Cambodians," author Andrew MacGregor told the Guardian. He wrote a book on Thailand's political history called Thailand: A Kingdom in Crisis.
"For the cost of Sirindhorn's toilet — to be used just for a single night — whole Cambodian villages could have been provided with proper sanitation," MacGregor told the Independent.
The Cambodia Daily said that the princess is scheduled to open a health centre and visit a new technology institute. She will also visit elementary schools.
The leader of the Yeak Lom Lake committee said many local representatives were told to ensure the princess has a good visit, reported the Independent.
In 2015, only 47 per cent of people in Cambodia had access to a toilet, an increase from 30 per cent in 2011, according to AsiaLife magazine.