August 13 is International Left Handers’ Day Singapore.

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First observed 34 years ago, today is the day to celebrate the uniqueness and difference of the left handed population in a predominantly right handed world.

First observed 34 years ago, today is the day to celebrate the uniqueness and difference of the left handed population in a predominantly right handed world.

The world is built for right handers and the inconveniences faced by left handers are everywhere. Try opening a can of baked beans with a manual can opener using your left hand – your arms will be crossed and you’re likely to cut yourself on the lid. Write using your left hand from left to right and you are likely to smudge your writing. It is also almost impossible to cut well with your left hand using “normal” scissors as the thumb and index finger will be pushed together in an unnatural way to make the scissors cut. Many other daily items such as measuring cup, chainsaws, and surgical instruments are all designed primarily for right hand use.

Two entrepreneurs decided to cater to this niche and Simply Lefty was started in 2009. Co-founder Mr Shen relates how this idea came to him, “A few years ago, one of my colleague came up to me seeking help to unlock her laptop, you know, those chain that locks your laptop to your cubicle. It then occurred to me that because the lock is on the right side of the laptop, my colleague who is a 100% left hander finds it extremely difficult to turn the lock with her left hand that is built for the convenience of right handers. I recalled the difficulties that I encountered with writing and using a scissors when I was in kindergarten. My exercise books would almost always end up smudged and those paper cuttings would be crooked because I was using a “normal” scissors. Together with my co-founder, Mr Lim, we started researching, interviewing left handers and doing market studies on this market. We found that there are retail shops catering purely to left handers in United States and Britain but none in Singapore. That is when we decided to start Simply Lefty.”

Mr Shen was born a left hander but his parents forced him to write with his right hand when he started primary school. This was a common reaction from parents of his generation. Despite this, he still uses his left hand for most of his daily tasks. Mr Shen advises parents to allow their children to acquire their handedness naturally.

Today, left handers make up approximately 10% of the world population and include luminaries such as current US president Barack Obama, Ex-US president Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Isaac Newton, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo.

Mr Lim added, “Left handers are born, and although there is no scientific research, we must be wary that there may be side effects of trying to change the handedness of young children since it is connected to the brain. Simply Lefty aim to bring more awareness to our left handed population in Singapore, especially to children as it is critical in their growing up years to acquire the correct writing and cutting techniques with suitable left handed scissors and writing equipment.”

You can find more information and articles pertaining to left handedness on their online store, http://www.simplylefty.com.sg.