Monday, December 19, 2016

The Eternal Drunkard (永远的酒鬼)

My friend, Eric bought over an old shop in Penang downtown for his new gourmet coffee shop. I purposely visited him for a cup of coffee before he closed his business at 11pm at night so that we can chat further. I knew that Eric’s shop would not have too many customers after midnight and he used to knock off at around 2am.

So, I was in Eric’s gourmet coffee shop one night sitting in a quiet corner sipping my cappuccino while waiting for Eric to come for a chat.  There weren’t too many customers around and some of his waiters and waitresses were wiping off spoons and cups at another table. Suddenly I noticed Eric brought a bottle of bear and walked from his casher’s counter towards the back quite secretively.

As Eric passed by my table, I asked Eric: “Hey man, are you boozing in private back there?”

Eric gave me a queer glance and tilted his head hinting me to follow. I was curious, so I followed him to the back of his shop and then went into a small room beside the store room. It was quite a small room almost empty but with a small table in the centre and a chair.

I saw Eric put the bear bottle in his hand on the centre of the table and poured some in a mug which was already there. Then he lit a piece of cigarette and put the cigarette near the corner of the table. After that, Eric held his hands in prayer’s gesture and murmured: “Big sister Chow, please enjoy your bear and cigarette. Help me to boost my business and you shall get more!”

Later, Eric hinted me to go out and shut the room door. We returned to my previous table and Eric instructed his workers to close the shop for the day since there were no more customers around. After seeing the last of his workers left, Eric then pulled a chair and sat beside my table and he told me the story of big sister Chow:

“Liew, you know that my shop was formerly a bar. After I took over the place and converted it to a coffee shop, my workers complaint to have seen the figure of a woman squatting at the back of the shop now taken up by the small room we went in just now. At first, I didn’t believe in what they said until one night I saw the figure myself. She always leaned her body against the wall and with her head stooped. No one has really seen her face as her long hair would normally drop covering her face.

Later, I contacted the former bar owner and he said the ghostly figure is probably a lady drunkard who died in his bar one night after excessive alcohol and drug intoxications. The lady was known only as Sister Chow who was once the daughter of a millionaire in town who was casted out by her father because she was adamant to marry her lover. Sadly speaking, Sister Chow’s lover too abandoned her for another lady a few years later leaving Sister Chow alone.

With nowhere to go, Sister Chow would spend nights boozing in bars until daybreaks and spend the days sleeping. Since she was the bar’s frequent customer, the bar owner was kind enough to spend her night drinking at the back of his bar and spent a night there. Unfortunately speaking, Sister Chow was found lifeless by a bar cleaner one morning. Since then, her restless soul was being sighted many times until he sold his business.

Hearing Sister Chow’s story, Eric originally wanted to exorcise the ghost of Sister Chow but a spirit medium said this Big Sister Chow can bring him money. So, he decided to build a small room for Sister Chow to stay and also to prevent Sister Chow from suddenly appearing in front of his customers.”

I am not sure if this Sister Chow has helped Eric in his business. But Eric bought the shop before Penang became the world heritage with MYR300k and now his property price soared to a hefty amount of MYR1.2 million!

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