MR. TOILET Review

by jason smith

Jack Sim aka Mr. Toilet

If the purpose of bacteria is to breakdown its material then release it back into the environment as new energy, then Mr. Toilet takes a topic we’d rather flush, processes it, then releases its new energy back to us in the form of a heightened awareness. In a similar manner, Sanitation Swami, Jack Sim – via his ability to purposefully flout out-dated conventions – wants to bring awareness to a topic close to his…well, ass: sanitation for developing countries.

Having been born into poverty in Singapore gave Mr. Sim first-hand experience regarding the ravages of not having a proper place to ‘do one’s business!’ On November 19, 2001, Jack initiated the World Toilet Organization, declaring it to be ‘World Toilet Day!’ In 2013 – and with the express support of 193 signatories – The United Nations adopted the day. But awareness, as Jack would learn, is a small part of a larger problem with cultural, social, and financial implications.

The magic of Mr. Toilet – as with its main protagonist – rests with its ability to grapple with a taboo subject in a comfortable way that’s also respectful. Yes, there are statistics; yes, there are grim facts. What pushes us through (no pun intended) is Jack’s humanity, his creativity, his courage, and, most importantly, his fearless ability to play the fool. Like the jester in the King’s court, Jack freely speaks his mind, not to humiliate, but to enlighten. He makes us comfortable by, momentarily, absolving us of our fears – if only for a while.

Mr.Toilet film still

In the end, however, visions require a course, missions a path; and though our jester might mean well, without discipline, he veers from his path, and his purpose looses to fancy; but that’s not to say that all is lost. This vision still manifests. The difference is the journey, and how a vision changes through time.

Please visit the Mr. Toilet Hot Docs Film Page for more info on the film and screening times.

Jason Smith is an actor & arts aficionado who loves theatre, film and anything arts related. When he is not on a TV or film set, you might just see him in the background of the newest opera playing in Toronto.

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