Pubbing, are you?

Back then in newspaper days, I used to have a colleague (let’s call her Nelly) who would pay homage to the pub almost every night, drank her Corona blues away and smoked the chain at every other hour. If she has to rush out of the air-conditioned newsroom for a puff, she would -“Eh, got to go lah – need a smoke!” even when she was merely 10-seconds away from her turn to debrief our newsdesk supervisor. And with her 5-cm heels she would actually dash out of the newsroom for that single,liberating puff.

Many a time, when dawn broke the next day and most of us would saunter into the newsroom 30 minutes late, someone would tell me a story about how Nelly was so drunk the night before, she danced with the guitar.Not the rocker-style, mind you. She was not a tall lass with leggy, moisturised legs to boot – but she always,always looked sexy. So the guitar number must have been quite a scene for the guys.

Fast-forward to 2 days ago, I gave her a call to let her know of an opening in KL for a senior reporter job with AFP. Her mobile rang, but no one picked up after 4 rings. By the time it was the 5th ring, I looked at the time and realised it is 9.30 pm on a Friday night. How stupid of me, I said to myself. The girl is drinking away in a pub and she would not have heard her mobile ringing. The thought came, settled, and then was somehow rudely disrupted by a calm and warm ‘Hello’ on the other end.

Nelly was at home, resting (on a Friday night!). She just came back from work, she said. I spent more time screaming in disbelief that she was not pubbing, then actually telling her about the job opening. Her response about not being in a pub on a Friday night was, “Ah ?! Sudah tua lah!”. That hit me like a rock. We are both only in our early 30s.

Before you kepos start inviting flies with your mouth wide-opened, no I do not go pubbing. With a hijab-on-head, that would have created a scene much more puzzling than a Nelly doing a Corona in one hand and a guitar in the other. I am just in shock that Nelly, of all people, outgrew the pubbing phase. There are people I know, our supervisor was one – who was still drinking, smoking and going to the pub every night. She was then in her late 30s, and she obviously did not outgrow the phase. The newsroom stress was too much for her I guess, and the pub was her sanctuary. Last time I saw her, her hair was dyed blonde.Poor supervisor.

So who are the ones who outgrew a certain phase, and who don’t? Nelly’s case spiralled my confidence downwards in my ability to read people’s character, because I thought she would be a pub-loyal. I thought Nelly would be one of those who will retire and open a pub with her son or nephew as the operations manager just so she can get close to the drinks and the live music. Sigh. I was so dead wrong.

Life has such a way of turning it around for people. Secretly, I am glad that Nelly is not pubbing anymore. One day, if you sport a not-so-tall girl walking around smiling sweetly without smoke-stained teeth, have a Christian name yet speak a spattering Malay and can rattle all the house-hits of the late 90’s pub scene – think of Nelly. It may just be her.

And oh. Hide your guitar.


  1. uja, just a few days ago, I saw something which triggered the worse in me. and that was when I was on the way to the surau! The nuaghty thoughts just confirmed I have not outgrown that one yet…and before u allow yr imagination to run to your tudung…let me tell you. I saw a lift repairman fixing the lift that I usually take to my surau. For a split of a second, I wanted to peruade him to let me go on a ride ON the lift, NOT IN the lft! I have done that before!

  2. hullo there,

    other than stalking kakteh wherever she may roam,i find ur blog very refreshingly honest.Good on ya!kakteh also thinks that we should hook up.howzaboutzat?

  3. Hello KakTeh,

    Is that for real?! ON A LIFT?!!! That’s one phase you MUST write about!

    Hello SC,
    Thanks for your kind compliments (*blushing now*). KakTeh’s blog is one of my favourites too:).
    Hooking up? Why not? Are you in SG, UK, MY – wherever la…drop me a line or do visit here (i update once a week if time permits). Are you blogging as well?

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