“You Write Like That?” – Being Left-Handed in Taiwan

Yesterday, August 13th, was Left Hander’s Day! To all the other south paws out there, it’s a special day just for us!

I wrote this post awhile ago about being left-handed in Taiwan. It is something that I never really thought about before coming here. Hope you enjoy!

And I hope to be back blogging by the end of the month. Thanks for all the kind messages you left on my last post and for understanding!! You guys are so kind, the best!!

Foreign Sanctuary


Happy Leftie Day!!” 

Those were the words my sister posted on my facebook page on August 13th, 2013 – the date which has been deemed as Left-Handers Day internationally.

And my nephew, who is also left-handed, wrote “We lefties are amazing.”

And that we are!!!

And rare! 

Only 10% of the population are lefties!


Growing up in Canada and being left-handed or turning your paper sideways to write, although maybe not the norm, was nothing to blink an eye at or comment about.  Surely, it was nothing to deem unusual, and certainly it wasn’t strange.

But all of that changed when I set foot in Taiwan.  Filling out application forms, signing my signature, giving my people my e-mail or phone number, or any other simple writing task became a 10 minute conversation (at least).

Most Taiwanese children who are left-handed are usually encouraged (sometimes forced) to…

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16 thoughts on ““You Write Like That?” – Being Left-Handed in Taiwan

  1. Southpaw is the name for lefties?? I thought it means a boxing stance! I just watched a movie with that title!

    I won’t be curious if you are a left hander, but I will definitely be curious (like most) if I see someone writing by turning the paper sideways. You are indeed special!

  2. Usually only two of my students in a class of 50 were left handed. A low number compared to the USA. I’m left handed as is my daughter but I never got as many comments as you. Maybe it was because of turning the paper when writing.
    Glad you are doing better. I look forward to your return to blogging.

  3. Happy Leftie Day!!
    Living in China and Japan people ALWAYS comment on my lefthandedness (as if just being a ginger wasn’t weird enough). I’ve noticed more south paws here in Japan, but in China I couldn’t even get pens to work for me! They tend to lock up when moved at a certain angle so when you’re writing characters quickly you don’t get extra strokes all over the place. But apparently those are the same angles I try to write at normally. Oops.

    1. I am glad to hear that I am not the only one. I know several people here in Taiwan who were left-handed, and they were ‘corrected’ and now write with their right-hand [my husband, for example]. However, that is now changing.

      That is so interesting that you can’t get pens to work for you.

  4. Constance, when you write Chinese characters, do you follow the stroke order?

    When I did Chinese brush painting, I had to hold my brush pen straight up (perpendicular to the table) to get the strokes right. Seeing Asian students write that way, I noticed how straight their backs were. I have scoliosis, so I have on occasion experimented with that writing style for the sake of my posture.

    A high percentage of American presidents are lefties.

    1. Yes, I do follow the correct stroke order when I write Chinese. I had a book which showed how to write each character step by step. It was difficult at first, but became second nature after awhile. And I turn my paper when I write Chinese, too!

      I have never attempted Chinese calligraphy, but I know teachers are very particular with how students are seated when writing.

  5. Growing up as a lefty in Taiwan has been very hard on me. The traditional Taiwanese like my grandmother believed that lefties are possessed by evil. I could prob write an entire post about how I was always shunned because I was left handed or when we eat at a round table, being lefty means you would hit chopsticks with the person next to you…etc. eventually I moved out of my grandmas household when I started schooling. To this day I do most things with my right including holding a chopstick but I write with my left. And yes, people always comment about it…

    1. Wow! Lefties are possessed with evil? I have never heard that before.

      Yes, I can see how hitting arms while eating would a hindrance. I used to have a similar problem in university as most of the desks in lecture theaters accommodated righties. I always found myself having to turn sideways to write on a desk on the right side.

  6. Omg, I’m a lefty too. And I’m Taiwanese. Growing up, all ppl say to me is omg u write with ur left hand. How come u didn’t correct it to writing with ur right? Or wow, u must be really smart (I’m like wtf)

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