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A Day for Left-Handers

Wong Shu Lee  


  August 12, 2021

Tomorrow, August 13th is the day designated for Left-Handers around the world to proudly tell people that they are left-handed. At the same time, International Lefthanders Day is also a day to raise awareness of the everyday issues that lefties face as we live in a world designed for right-handers. 


We live in a world where almost 90% of the human population is righthanded. Thus, it's no surprise that lefthanders’ needs are often forgotten in the design of everyday tools and objects. 


Handwriting is one of the biggest sources of actual disadvantage for left-handed people, other than for those forced to work with certain machinery. About 90 percent of the world's population is right-handed, so many common articles are designed for efficient use by right-handed people and may be inconvenient, painful, or even dangerous for left-handed people to use. 


These may include school desks, kitchen implements, and tools ranging from simple scissors to hazardous machinery such as power saws. 


Beyond being inherently disadvantaged by a right-handed bias in the design of tools, left-handed people have been subjected to deliberate discrimination and discouragement. 


In some cultures, lefthanders may be considered unlucky or even malicious by the right-handed majority. Some languages still contain references to left-handedness to convey awkwardness, dishonesty, stupidity, or other undesirable qualities. 


Thus, in many societies, left-handed people were historically (and in some cases still are) forced to use their right hands for tasks which they would naturally perform with the left, such as eating or writing since childhood. 


Many Asian countries force their children to become right-handed due to cultural perceptions of bad luck associated with the left hand. In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia, it has traditionally been perceived as "rude" behavior to use the left hand for eating, as the left hand is commonly used for tasks considered "unclean". 


Today, although some cultures are still associating lefthanders with negative qualities, left-handedness generally has become less stigmatized in many countries. Many families in Malaysia no longer force their left-handed children to switch to their right hand. 


Many tools and stationeries manufacturers also started to design, produce and sell products that are friendly to left-handers. 


Are you a left-hander? Do you have friends or family members that are left-handers? If yes, let’s tell them how special they are, and let’s embrace their left-handedness on this special day! 

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