My dad used to say what Mahathir had said recently – 'half-past six', about things that were not done properly or not quite right. Well, it seems that there is a sexual connotation in that phrase.
A Malaysiakini reader calling him or herself Tiga Suku did a search of the origin of this phrase because he was quite intrigue by that expression, when he first heard Mahathir described Malaysia as a ‘half-past-six’ country.
He found it in The Double Tongued Word Wrester Dictionary, which describes itself as a "growing lexicon of fringe English, focusing on slang, jargon and more ...”. The tome describes the phase as what I know of it, namely bad, shoddy, or slipshod.
He also told us that The Coxford Singlish Dictionary described ‘half-past-six’ as half-baked or incompetent. The Dictionary went on to suggest that the term is actually a sexual reference to the angle of the dangle of the male organ.
As they used to say, “the angle of the dangle depends on the heat of the meat!”
It seems that ‘half-past-six’ symbolises a weak state of the dingaling, if measured against a vertically positioned body. Why not dormant rather than weak? You know what they say about "never awake a sleeping giant!"
Anyway, the Dictionary describes '3.15' or '9.45' is very strong! Indeed.
You know, I suddenly remember that poor girl who was embarrassed about explaining his boyfriend’s problem of erectile dysfunction (ED) to the predator-medium. I blogged on that unfortunate con in One Born Every Minute (3). She could have employed ‘half past six’ conveniently to explain her boyfriend's ED problem, without suffering the acute embarrassment. Alas, if only she had known of this dangling expression.
If indeed, according to The Coxford Singlish Dictionary, the term ‘half past six’ attributes its origin to a state of the male’s sexual failure, then does that mean we can’t use the expression to describe women's abysmal attributes or shoddy output?
Just imagine - a "Hey, bitch, you’re ‘half past six lah’" would have brought a swift retort of "Buster, try and get yours up first! Nah!" accompanied by the universal gesture of two-fingers at 9.15!
Maybe it would be best not to rile any local Amazons with this insulting expression.
The Coxford Singlish Dictionary has also claimed that it’s of Singapore origin. Tiga Suku asked whether Dr Mahathir could have picked up the expression during his university days in Singapore.
I can confirm that as an emphatic ‘NO’ because my dad had never ever been to Singapore all his life but had used that term rather freely, though fortunately never at me. In fact, it’s used commonly in Penang, among my father's generation.
Based on that, I would be bold as to say it’s of Penang origin, and f**k the Singapore’s claim. They are so kiasu so they appropriately deserve the label of ‘half past six’ ;-)