Left-handed people 'no longer hiding' in right-handed world

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-14 09:11

HEFEI-Before entering the subway, Lin Pan swiped his transit card on the machine, only to have the gate next to him open-a common nuisance he encounters as a left-hander.

"We are living in a world for right-handers," Lin said. "The shutter on the camera is on the right, the mouse of the computer, the accelerator of a vehicle, the design of scissors-all these are mostly based on the habits of right-handers."

He started a website, Left-Handed China (, in 2013 to speak for his fellow lefties. The website posts articles and research on left-handedness and collects complaints from left-handed people.

The site now has more than 28,000 registered members and organizes events every Aug 13 for International Left-Handers Day.

"By setting up the website, I wanted to clear up misunderstandings about lef-thanders," Lin said.

For a long time, being left-handed was deemed "wrong" in parts of China, especially rural areas.

"My teacher used to try to force me into using my right hand, and I often feel nervous when I deal with changes in my life," Lin said.

Even now, Lin sometimes receives calls from parents concerned about their kids' "unusual" habits.

"Some parents call me and say their children experience a lot of inconveniences at school. I persuade them to give up the idea of correcting their kids' left-handed habits," he said.

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people is left-handed, which means there are at least 130 million so-called lefties in China. Their needs have long been neglected.

"I am very regretful that I forcibly corrected my son's left-handedness," Han Yamei said.

"I found my son using his left hand to eat, hold items and draw when he was 3 years old, so I always put the pen in his right hand when he practiced writing," she recalled. "It took him a year to change the habit."

"I did this because I didn't want him to be bullied at school, but now I believe it is better to let it be," she said.

Most people no longer view left-handedness as abnormal, and parents are advised not to intervene.

"Our left brain takes charge of language and logical thinking, while the right brain controls our cognition of space and geometry, as well as artistic abilities such as painting and music. If we modify their behavior by force, it may lead to reading disabilities and stuttering," said Wang Ya, a counselor at Anhui Children's Hospital.

"Society is becoming more inclusive, and left-handers are no longer hiding their habits," said 31-year-old Zhang Liguo, who is left-handed.

Still, lefties want more consideration and convenient facilities in their daily lives.

"In many developed countries, kindergarten teachers offer proper assistance. They also have textbooks instructing children how to hold a pen with their left hand," Lin said.

"We still have much room to improve in China."

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