Ipohworld's World

Saving Yesterday For Tomorrow


“Commonly made of bamboo, plastic, wood or stainless steel, Chopsticks were first used by the Chinese. This later spread to various parts of the world through cultural influence or through Chinese immigrant communities. How does one use chopsticks? Well, the lower chopstick is stationary, and rests at the base of the thumb, and between the ring finger and middle finger. The second chopstick is held like a pencil, using the tips of the thumb, index finger, and middle finger, and it is moved while eating, to pull food into the grasp of the chopsticks….” (Wikipedia)

Some of you may have seen this video, but since we’re still in the CNY mood…I thought I’d share it again with you!



  1. NCK says:

    Using chopsticks is easy. As you will never forget riding a bike, you won’t forget using chopsticks which is definitely a much easier task than riding a bike. You just need to hold and move the sticks right.

    The lower stick is held at two points – one at the nook where the thumb meets the palm, and the other above the tip segment (between the tip and the first knuckle) of the ring finger. With nothing to do, baby pinky can make itself useful by supporting the ring finger.

    The upper stick is held at four points: 1. on the side of the bottom segment (between the second and third knuckles) of the index finger, 2. the tip segment of the thumb, 3. the tip segment of the index finger, and 4. on the side of the tip segment of the middle finger.

    While the bottom stick is held still, the upper stick is moved, by the index finger and the middle finger, in a rotary motion such that the sticks work like a pair of kitchen tongs (e.g. what you use to pick ice cubes) – close only at the tips, and never cross one another like a pair of scissors.

    Once you get it right, you can start using chopsticks straight away. Proficiency will be refined with more practices.

    • NCK says:

      Correction: The lower stick is held stationary at three points: 1. at the crook where the thumb meets the palm, 2. at the middle segment of the thumb, and 3. on the tip segment of the ring finger.

      Also, the middle finger pushes the upper stick up and the index finger pushes it down. When the chopsticks close at the tips, they form a V.

  2. Ngai C O says:

    Chop Stick etiquette may be alien to me. However, I can and do use chop sticks when the occassion arises as effectively, as efficiently and I dare say as elegantly as described in the methodology though not necessarily in the manner described.

    I have evolved to be a fork person at home over the years with the knife coming out to handle steak, chicken breast, pork or lamb chop. The fork is the main implement unless soup is involved in which case a spoon is used. I don’t even have a problem with the fork even with peas or loose grains of rice.
    It was a matter of adapting.

    It does not bother me if people were to give me a strange look with the way I handle the chop sticks.
    What is more important is the food is good and I enjoy it.

    As for the bicycle, I always push it from the left. I just cannot do it from the right although I tried it before. I notice many people do it from the right. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way.

  3. NCK says:

    Hi Ngai CO, I bet you are a right-hander by mounting your bike from the left. I never mastered the technique of mounting a moving bike, though. I just sat on my bike, stationary, using my left foot for balancing on tip-toe, and then peddled with my right foot to set the bike in motion. (I’m a right-hander too.) I think I will give myself a bike again and start trying the moving technique.

    As for using chopsticks, I think some people just have not the chance of learning the proper way. It can be easily mastered with proper guidance. Once mastered, it is very useful – you can pick up any tidbits as small as a stray grain of rice and as large as your fingers can spread the sticks to satiate your cravings.

    • Ngai C O says:

      Hi NCK,

      Happy New Year.

      Surprisingly, I am left handed and write sometimes slanting to the extreme right.

      The only thing I am right handed is scissors, which in the past was mainly made for right handed people. I would most likely not be able to use a pair of scissors designed for the left handers.

      When I learned how to ride a bicycle, I did not have the luxury of a child’s bike. Not having the height to mount a chunky male adult bike, I had to slip my right foot underneath the cross bar to reach the right pedal.

      I had to bend my body round the cross bar so that I could balance the bike and also reach the right handle bar. I think a friend had to hold the back to get me started off. I had to ride in this fashion until I got a bike that I could sit on the saddle. That was way some time away.

      As for chop sticks, I would compare how I do it with how one should do it when the next opportunity arises. For a start, I don’t even have chop sticks at home!!!! I have not got them for more than twenty years.

      I shall give it a try to see if I can correct myself if it turns out to be the case. You know, it is sometimes not possible to teach an old dog new tricks. You never know.

    • NCK says:

      Hi, Ngai CO. Being a right-hander, I could push my bike from the left single-handedly with my right hand. When I push from the right, both hands were used and my right hand did the main balancing job. My left hand always played the oaf. I thought a left-hander should find it easier to push a bike from the right.

      A small child riding a big bike would have to master the technique of mounting a moving bike, but I learnt to ride rather late, at age 12, and my family had no Raleigh bike for my training. So I used my elder sister’s smaller Mini bike (a woman’s bike, thank goodness no one had the audacity to laugh at me), and didn’t need to learn the technique.

      Back to chopsticks, another benefit of the proper hold is that it gives you a firm grip. Nothing will save your tidbits from the ferocious jaws of your chopsticks.

      • Ngai C O says:

        Hi NCK,

        I don’t think I can produce a ferocious jaw from a pair of chopsticks, never been able to.

        Maybe having to do with the ‘wrong’ technique.

        But I have been able to get enough grip to hold the food without losing it on the table or the floor or worse still landing onto someone else.

        All I know is that if the chop sticks twist, then disaster is likely to follow.

        I have seen food fly over to the person sitting opposite the table. It was hilarious and we could not stop laughing and kept relating the experience for a long, long time.

        Some people tried stunts to catch food with the chop sticks like the movies. Good try but no luck.

  4. Ipoh Remembered says:

    Friend of mine in Ipoh used to hatch crocodiles in his house, feed them raw chicken with a pair of chopsticks, and then, before they grew too big, sell them to a zoo in Bedfordshire.

    Don’t ask me where he got the crocodile eggs.

  5. Mano says:

    As far as I can remember, we were so much into Chinese, my mom had introduced us to chopsticks by the time I was five! Ever since, there has always been a ‘clutch’ of chopsticks in my house as well.

  6. Mano says:

    A mate of mine, here in Oz, and I were at a noodles shop once. It was one of those eateries where you pick your utensils after you collect your bowl of noodles. So I offered to pick up a pair of chopsticks for him as well. He went,”What?! And go hungry?!!”

  7. NCK says:

    It is good to see traditional Chinese chopsticks in the photo. Japanese chopsticks, shorter in length and pointed at the tip, have been present in the market since the 80′s. These chopsticks usually look prettier too. Functionally, the shorter sticks come in handy for a child’s small hand. With pointed tips, they can more easily double as skewers for the child to pick up uncooperative food. I personally prefer to use Chinese chopsticks for the longer sticks so that my hand don’t get too close to the tip.

  8. NCK says:

    Yes, Mano. The thumb, index finger and middle finger’s positions in holding the upper stick is quite like holding a pencil (and I just realised it), but we should not think of holding a pencil because the finger works are different from writing, and we have to handle two sticks at the same time. What’s more, different people have different pencil grips.

    The index and middle fingers in particular have to be flexible. The middle finger pushes the upper stick up to open, and the index finger pushes the stick down to close and grip. The upper stick moves in rotary motions, and the two sticks form a V when close (at the tips).

    The upper half of each stick is thicker than the lower half and is the part to be held. A novice may hold at the sticks’ midsections if this makes him more at ease, but not any closer to the tips. The centres of gravity of the sticks will work against the user if he holds past the midsections.

    • NCK says:

      Yes, a user should hold between the upper quarterpoint (i.e. centre of the upper half) and the midpoint. There’s no fixed rule. But holding at the midpoint may imply that the user is a novice. When I cook my instant noodles, I’d want to hold as high as my hand is comfortable with the hot steam.

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