I’m not the only Thunderbird community member who gets questions about his / her on-screen nickname (see Standard8), so here is the _real_ origin of my one, "nth10sd".

Depending on where you come from, the phrase "十三點" or "13-Dot" can mean a variety of things, especially in Shanghainese, apparently it’s not a particularly pleasant phrase to use. It can also mean having just thirteen points on your hand on the blackjack table.

"Before In the Mood for Love, there was 13-Dot. Probably the most successful girls’ comic to have ever emerged in Hong Kong, 13-Dot was considered a fashion bible among the younger generation thanks to author Lee Wai-chun’s compulsive interest in changing costumes for her characters whenever they go from one room to the next."

The real origin lies here. As the website from which these quotes come from mentions, 13-Dot is a Hong Kong comic originating in 1966, just a few years after Old Master Q (老夫子) in 1962.

"Projecting a modern image of women amid Hong Kong’s blossoming economy, the comic follows the teenage daughter of Prosperous Town’s richest man, the popular Miss 13-Dot (whose name refers to fun-loving and mischievous girls in Shanghainese), as she goes on a series of fanciful adventures using her family’s fortune."

So the entire phrase in Cantonese is "哪, 睇, 係十三点!", the way to pronounce in English is "naa, tai, hai sup (replaced by number 10) saam deem". It means, "Hey, look, it’s 13-Dot!" And this nickname came about with a real desire to prove my cultural origins, and the fact that the "13-Dot" comic is only mostly known among Hong Kong folks (Cantonese isn’t really welcomed by only-Mandarin-in-the-official-media Singapore, where all Cantonese shows on the local on-air channels are translated to Mandarin with no option to switch. And that’s annoying, especially when their lips don’t match their voices. It’s like listening to someone mouthing English but the language that you hear from the speakers is French). Something at some stage in my life must have made me hear that phrase 5-6 years ago, I cannot really recall, though it simply stuck.

Complicated? Probably. It’s more complex if I explain it in person. "nth11sd", "nth12sd" and so on till "nth19sd" or so are just multiple instances of myself, as my fellow ex-interns Cesar Oliveira and Reed Loden like to point out, "clones". 🙂

And no, I never really read that comic, though I’m a fan of Hong Kong life and their values from the late 60s to the early 90s. So, yes, I am a fan of 許冠杰 (Samuel Hui) and 最佳拍檔 (Aces Go Places), and especially 周星馳 (Stephen Chow).

無厘頭 (mo lei tau), anyone? (We should 坐低飲杯茶,食個包,慢慢倾!)

P.S.: To all Mandarin readers / speakers, I don’t think the combinations of Chinese characters in the phrases above make much sense.