‘Half-past-six’ and 10:10 Hand Positions of clocks

‘Half-past-six’ and CLOCKS with 10:10 Hand Positions

I had read somewhere that during the British time, mixed blooded whites or Anglos-(others) were only allowed to the exclusive clubs for Whites only after 6-30 PM in British Malaya (now Malaysia & Singapore). So some used the derogatory term “Half-past-six” as a compound adjective ( in Malaysia and Singapore) slang as an  “inferior” or “of poor quality” MIXED –BLOODED Whites.

 (The term Anglo is used as a prefix to indicate a relation to the Angles, England or the English people, as in the terms Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-American, Anglo-Celtic, Anglo-African and Anglo-Indian. Taken from Wikipedia)

If we call or pronounce 10-10 in Cantonese, it sounds like “Continuous”, “Everyday”, “Always” or “Forever”. So Chinese likes this number. Malaysian and Singaporean Malays and Indians also are used to those beliefs and although not very strong they like this. Likewise they like number eights e.g. 888 but scared of 4 which sounds like death. Extension of westerners belief of 13, when 1+3=4 again in numerical belief. Even in Malay Muslim dominated capital of Putra Jaya phone numbers were ful with 8s.

And the 10-10 position of clock hands are like a “V” VICTORY sign.

Source: The Star: What is ‘half-past-six’? YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY

LATELY there has been a lot of talk by politicans about our being a
“half-past-six” nation. Where did that expression come from and what does it
really mean? Is it only applicable in the Malaysian context or is it widely  used in other countries as well? – Hamdan Ibrahim

“Half-past-six” as a compound adjective is Malaysian and Singaporean  slang for “inferior” or “of poor quality”. It was much more in use in the ’50s  and ’60s than it is now.

I looked up several dictionaries and only found the adjective in an  online dictionary called Double-Tongued Word Wrester Dictionary which specialises in slang,  jargon, etc. This dictionary defines the word as “bad; shoddy, slipshod”.

All the examples it cites come from Malaysia or Singapore. In fact, I
have not heard or seen this expression used by people outside these two

Half-past-six = adj. bad; shoddy, slipshod. Subjects: English, Singapore

As for its origin, I don’t really know. My guess is that it came from the
fact that when it is half-past six, both hands of the clock point downwards. A
‘thumbs down’ as it were.

Does any reader know how it really originated?

Half past six a.[Eng., origin uncertain; poss. f. the appearance of a flaccid penis: see quot.2006] Careless, shoddy; incompetent, screwed up.

2006 Carolyn Hong (quoting Mahathir Mohamad) The Straits Times (from Straits Times Interactive),
12 June. Tun Dr Mahathir described the [Malaysian] government as ‘half-past
six’ with no guts after it scrapped a project to build a bridge to replace the
Causeway because it could not secure the agreement of Singapore.

CLOCKS and TIME:  FAQ: 10:10 Hand Positions

FAQ: Why are Clock
Hands Pictured at 10:10?

Question.Why do clocks and watches in advertisements and   illustrations often have their hands set at 10 minutes after 10?


I personally think that the 10:10 position (sometimes
10:12 or 10:08) was adopted for pictures of clocks and watches because it is   symmetric and looks better. Today the symmetric positions are both aesthetic   and customary. Other symmetric hand positions are also used, but not as  frequently. Examples include 8:20, 8:18, and 2:50. Reviewing some Seth Thomas   clock catalog illustrations, I see a gradually increasing symmetry of the   hands as the catalogs progress from 1878 to 1940.

“We always put hands to 10.10 here and in other  collections I’m responsible for. The answer is probably quite simply that it  looks better, aesthetically and practically, as the clock has a ‘smile’ on  its face (not just a marketing gimmick, it really does look better than a  ‘down turned mouth’ at 8.20) and, as others have said, because it keeps the  hands clear of signatures and other subsidiary dials. I note that not every  firm uses that position in their marketing though. Synchronome, for example,  appear to depict their dials at 3.00.” – Jonathan Betts

“The opinions I’ve read tend toward ‘framing’ the  maker’s name on the clock face. Viz: when the logo is placed above the  center, the hands are at 10:10 but when the logo is below the center, the  hands are shown at 8:20 framing the maker’s name. Wristwatch advertising  follows this trend.” – Les Lesovsky

“Thomas A. Frank wrote: ‘…most manufacturers  trademarks are just above the center pipe, and having the hands at 10:10  causes your eye to naturally follow to the trough, thus bringing your view  right to the trademark….’ and often the Model name is centered under the  center pipe, ruling out any hand more or less straight down (between 5 and  7). Date windows most often are at 9 or 3, and subsidiary seconds usually at  6. For aesthetic reasons you want the two hands neither nearly covering each  other nor nearly in a straight line. By default the 10h10 looks pretty  good.” – Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

“Smile”  Theory

It has been suggested that the 10:10 position is used  because it resembles a smile.

“I too have heard the ‘smile’ theory, which makes  some sense from the emotional marketing perspective. Equally likely is the  fact that most manufacturer’s trademarks are just above the center pipe, and  having the hands at 10:10 causes your eye to naturally follow to the trough,  thus bringing your view right to the trademark.” – Tom Frank

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