Yesterday Wasn’t Just Tuesday..It was International Left-Handers’ Day

What seemed like an ordinary (and rainy) August 13 day wasn’t that ordinary at all, as I found out late afternoon. Without much fanfare, yesterday (and today-it’s still August 13th in the evening at the US) the world was celebrating International Left-Handers’ Day.


What? How? Why?

I was or am aware of some Left-handed advocacies which I came across the years, but I guess it kind of slipped out of my mind. Doing some browsing, here’s an excerpt from which gives light on the matter:

August 13 is designated International Left-handers Day by Left-handers International. It was first observed 13 August 1976. As its name suggests, it is meant to promote awareness of the inconveniences facing left-handers in a predominantly right-handed world. It celebrates their uniqueness and difference, who are from seven to ten percent of the world’s population. Many left-handed people are discriminated against today’s society, and are forced to use right-handed tools, drive on the right side of the road, and even get harassed. International Left-handers Day is made to end this discrimination.”




Left versus Right.

I didn’t think it was such a big deal until I actually sat and thought about it a few years back. Noticing the simple household things from cooking utensils to tools, scissors, door knobs, buttons on electronic gadgets from TV sets to computers tend to favor the right-handed person. Health-wise, some online data theoretically  states that “Lefties” are more prone to disorders such as schizophrenia, inflammatory bowel disease, alcoholism and are more affected by fear as manifested through Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders or PTSD. And they tend to be ‘angrier’. Some of these ring a bell for me..whew!

Even the term “nangaliwa/nagngangaliwa” has a negative connotation in Pinoy society. If I’m not mistaken, it holds true for the English lexicon as well.

On the upside though, some surprising facts from various studies point to lefties possessing an average more intelligence as well as an edge in terms of artistic giftedness, problem-solving skills and they tend to fare well in competitive sports as compared to their right-handed counterparts. Animals, as studies have shown, exhibit a preferred left-handed or rather pawed trait.


Famous Left-Handed People

As much as lefties consider themselves a “minority” as compared to the countless millions of right-handed people, well, cheer up! You are in the company of what we can denote as a “rare” breed. Online sources list some of but a handful of famous left-handed celebrities namely: US Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama; Prince Charles and Prince William of England; musicians Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain and Paul McCartney; actors Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Bruce Willis, Charlie Chaplin; actresses Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts & Marilyn Monroe; scientists Isaac Newton, Marie Curie and Benjamin Franklin; artists Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci; and historical figures Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Charlemagne and Julius Ceasar.

Yes, even Kermit the Frog is left-handed.


How Is It Celebrated?

TheInternational Left-Handers’ Day website suggests some activities that we can ask our right-handed friends and family to do as a challenge, using their left-hand something like a “Lefty”-For-A-Day thing. Simple and routine tasks actually such as:

  • Fill & pour kettle.
  • Peel vegetables or fruits.
  • Write in a spiral notebook (hard, ei?).
  • Write with a pen, period (attempt to not get smudges on your hand).
  • Put the computer mouse on the left side of the keyboard and try drawing a shape on the screen, or clicking and dragging – Left-handers usually have to do this with their right hand as the mouse is shared, and always set up for right-handed users (you can confirm this, this usually is the set-up on computer shops).
  • Shooting free throws (basketball) using your left hand.

Again, this seems like nothing much of a big deal, but the more you think about it, it is a big deal; specially for left-handers. Despite those little inconveniences, they have managed to get through life. They are unique. truly a rare breed.



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