Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Singapore Lauds Best Bathrooms

SINGAPORE -- Singapore's environment minister awarded the country's first five-star rating to a public restroom Tuesday at the start of a nationwide drive to flush out dirty lavatories.

Environment Minister Lim Swee Say launched the "Happy Toilet" campaign, which will rate public restrooms using a five-star system similar to that used for hotels.

"I am looking very forward to experiencing this toilet myself so I can walk out of the toilet feeling happy," Lim said at a news conference, before placing the award plaque outside a restroom at a suburban shopping mall in the wealthy Southeast Asian city-state.

The award-winning restroom features giant comic book-style murals at its entrance and air jets to dry floors and other surfaces. A poster in the women's restroom reads "Dirty toilets attract the wrong crowd," and depicts a woman dressed as a giant cockroach and smoking, with strands of toilet paper hanging from her insect-like legs.

The campaign aims to raise the standard of public restrooms by recognizing those that are well-designed and well-kept, said Jack Sim, the restroom association's president.

"In total we spend almost three years of our lives on the toilet. It's natural and it's normal, so let's learn to say: 'Wow! That's a great toilet!'" Sim said in the Happy Toilet program booklet.

An award can be withdrawn if the public reports a decline in standards, the booklet said.

This tightly controlled tropical island nation of 4 million people is known for its behavior modification campaigns, which have included anti-spitting drives and media blitzes aimed at making people more courteous.

The restrooms in the Shangri-La hotel also received a five-star rating Tuesday.