Shengliver’s Note: The three teens went their separate ways after they finished high school. BT is doing the fourth year of high school somewhere else. CT is a uni student in Shandong. ET is attending uni at Wuhan, his home province capital. May they fare well on their own life journeys.


Nicknames are popular among Chinese teenagers. While some nicknames are intended to offend, most are created to befriend. In this blog entry, Shengliver will introduce three friendly nicknames to my readers.




BT is Mr Xu Yue. The name BT is an acronym for the Chinese characters bian tai in pinyin. The Chinese phrase describes someone who is abnormal. We eat three meals a day. If someone eats all the while and we hate it, we say they are BT (biantai).

mosquito 03 

BT BOY is direct and outspoken. He speaks his mind and does not care how others might feel. Therefore, he may have hurt many hearts, especially the tender ones of his female classmates. He comments on their looks and their ways of doing things. A journal-keeper expressed her attitude towards BT BOY. “I hate someone in the class. He is BT.”


Last term, BT BOY tested his own ability to go without food. It was not fasting for BT was not religious in any way. He starved himself for some consecutive days. Four days, I remember. The only stuff he took in during the four days was water. At the end of his trial, he felt like dying. But he was happy to know how far his endurance could go. Was he BT?


While many girls avoid him like the plague, he is friends with one or two girl classmates. He has got a sis this term. He looks after his sis very well. He told one of his male friends about his sis. This friend of BT’s texted the girl one day, claiming that he was BT and asking the girl to deposit some money at China Mobile for his mobile phone because his phone was running out of fees. BT’s sis believed the caller and did as she was told.  Is BT BOY BT?


Summer is around. In the dorm, the teenagers are bothered by mosquitoes. Some sleep in a mosquito net. But BT BOY would rather fight a battle with the pests. When he is woken up in the middle of the night, he turns on the torch and the war starts. Is he BT?




What is CT then? To get the answer, we’ll have to ask the BBC teacher for help. The BBC teacher has been teaching some English idioms at His shows are available for free download. I use the series in my evening classes and the students enjoy them to the full. The teacher is humorous and funny. He has brought roars of laughter to us.

bbc teacher 01 

In one of his shows, he teaches TEA idioms. One vivid idiom is CHOCOLATE TEAPOT. A fool would know a teapot made of chocolate is useless. Hence, if someone is a chocolate teapot, they are no good.


One of the boys who enjoy cutting in on the speaker in class is Mr Xia Weiyi. He, like the BT BOY, is outspoken and candid. He airs whatever is on his mind without considering how the audience might feel. Worse still, he swears a lot. Some of the swear words annoy me. I would not use his obscenities myself for all the tea in China.


This term CT partners a girl in classroom learning, who is as outspoken as, if not more than, the boy. The two have been engaged in a verbal war quite often. When the war is turning heated, their neighbours will try to stop it. “CT, you are a man!”


One day a student was speaking on the podium when Mr Xia blurted out one of his pet swear phrases. I exclaimed, “Shut up, Chocolate Teapot!” No sooner had I finished my exclamation than the students burst out laughing.


Since then the name has stuck. I use the name CT and his friends use it, too. Of course we do not mean to insult him. We call him CT just to be friendly. And he does not mind it.


One of his dorm mates actually complained about me calling Mr Xia CT. “It is unfair,” his roommate explained. CT is head of the dorm. He is qualified. The members of the dorm get along well with each other. CT is able to make very good arrangements for his dorm. For example, he made a rule that the members of the dorm take turns to go and fetch hot water for the dorm. He set an example by being the first to be on duty. Everyone else followed in his footsteps. In freezing weather, when other dorms did not have enough hot water to wash, their dorm had plenty. His roommate’s conclusion was that CT is not CT at all.


The truth is that CT is kind. But as with a normal being, he has his faults. I do hope he swears no more. CT will be China Teapot, good and gracious and handsome.




ET is an abbreviation for extraterrestrial – a being supposed to come to the earth from outer space. In my class ET is not a creature from outer space, but a teenager from Mt Wudang. Is he a Taoist monk then?


No, he isn’t. Instead, he is ET, because his friends admire him for his English learning skills. He is good at the language. ET is CT’s best friend. CT and ET were classmates in middle school and they still are. When we started using CT to address his friend, someone suggested we call him ET. ET he has been ever since.


ET is indebted to his father, who is an excellent English teacher. Probably his father was his English teacher in middle school. Clearly the father has influenced him a great deal in his learning experiences. ET is proud of his father. In his journal, he expressed his admiration for the father.


ET is ET probably because some of his classmates envy him for his people skills. The letter E hence stands for EMOTION in this case. He has a talent for interacting with his girl classmates. He is popular among them. He helps them do this and that, which the whole class knows. I do hope some of the boys will learn from ET and try and talk with the girls a little bit more. Some boys are terribly shy, just the way I was when I was their age. My teen years has taught me that being too shy is no good.


ET is not very strong on his other subjects. I have asked him to learn not only English well but all the other subjects well, too.


BT, CT and ET are three Chinese teenagers with their own characters. Despite their differences, they share one quality – all three are kind at heart and helpful in their community. Without them around, the student community would lack some colours.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. SunshineChain
    May 04, 2011 @ 00:10:31

    Yeah, I can’t agree with you more.

    Without them around, the stedents community would certainly lack some colors.

    This entry make me recall a lot when we were in YYHS~


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