The Asian Squat for the West of the World

July 18, 2012 § 13 Comments

If you’re a Westerner who’s traveled to Asia, you’ve probably marveled at the locals’ ability to relax in their preferred alternative to just standing around—the Asian squat. You’ve also probably brought back stories (and photos) of “squatty potties,” and you understand why the bathrooms in international airports have signs that read, “No Standing on the Toilet.”

But if all this is new to you and you see the need for more information, or if you’d like help in pulling off the squat yourself, I refer you to Daniel Hsia’s mockumentary, How to Do the Asian Squat. Watch it because you want to know the history behind the Asian squat. Watch it because you want to know the physics behind the Asian squat. Or watch it simply because “Each and every day, more and more tired-legged, stiff-backed Americans are discovering a new and exciting way to squat!”

And if you really want to get on board (pun intended), take a look at “Nature’s Platform” for how you can convert a Western toilet into your very own squatty potty. The site is complete with testimonials from physicians, anthropologists, and yoga instructors. Unfortunately, it looks as if the company is not accepting new orders at this time. But don’t be disheartened, you can go here for their instructions on how to create your own conversion kit from concrete blocks and plywood. Or as an alternative, you can visit Lillipad of New Zealand, where their trendy (?) looking “squatting platform” is on sale . . . and available. They sell plans for building your own, too. (But hurry, the plans are 50% off till the end of July.)

[photo: “Old Man Squatting on Steps,” by Lon&Queta, used under a Creative Commons license]

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§ 13 Responses to The Asian Squat for the West of the World

  • Dee P. says:

    Craig,
    I never fail to enjoy your posts. This one on the “Asian Squat” reminded me so much of one of the biggest things that had me stymied on my trip to Indonesia. I think I should have practiced before I had headed over there. Thanks for some enjoyable reading.
    Dee

  • Culturally stimulating. Thank you.

  • M & J says:

    Awesome post & very informative video!!! – Mind if I reblog it??

    Just a bit of Fusion Culture I’ve learned: In Hong Kong where all things Asian are mixed with British ‘manners’ (???) – especially among the Upper Crust groups, only the ‘poor’ or ‘elderly’ will be seen squatting. When my kids tried it out, our local friends quickly informed them it was a bad idea because ‘people’ will think they are lower class… which is the same reason we were told the Asian Squat existed in HK, because it was even ‘worse’ for one to sit directly on the ground, as only ‘dirty beggars’ did that. :)

    • Craig says:

      Thanks for asking. Yes, you can reblog this post.
      And thanks for the info on Hong Kong. It reminds me of how in Taiwan I would watch and watch, and just when I thought I’d figured out how to fit in, I would stand out all the more.
      BTW, I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. Jia you.

      • M & J says:

        Thanks & Thanks!
        Enjoying yours as well! Ka-Yaow! :))

        Fitting in?? I’ve assumed it would never happen for me! LOL My kids on the other hand, they have a chance… Helps to be a ‘halfbreed’. I think they ‘cheated’. *grin*

  • M & J says:

    Reblogged this on Memories on the Journey and commented:
    Just a bit of Fusion Culture I’ve learned: In Hong Kong where all things Asian are mixed with British ‘manners’ (???) – especially among the Upper Crust groups, only the ‘poor’ or ‘elderly’ will be seen squatting. When my kids tried it out, our local friends quickly informed them it was a bad idea because ‘people’ will think they are lower class… which is the same reason we were told the Asian Squat existed in HK, because it was even ‘worse’ for one to sit directly on the ground, as only ‘dirty beggars’ did that. :)

    And now, here’s an excellent post I found on a much asked about bit of Asian Culture… Hope you enjoy! -jk

  • I almost died when I first saw the ‘squatty potty’. I was eight and was visiting Pakistan for the first time. Wonderful childhood memories. Sort of.

    • Craig says:

      One thing about squatty potties, you have to get over your first impressions. You often don’t have much of a choice. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  • Haha loved this post…I’m in India at the moment and have actually tried to imitate the squat! People do it everywhere and look so comfortable sitting like that! Sadly not as easy as it looks…haha

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