About Hashing

Turkey Trail (Video)

Eagle Trail (Words)

Basically a hash consists of three main parts:

The Run (aka Trail)

One or two hashers, called the hare(s), lay a trail. They mark their trail with chalk arrows, shredded paper, flour, or pieces of toilet paper hanging in the bush, depending on local tradition or terrain. They might pre-lay trail a day or a few hours before the hash, or they might lay the trail as “live hares,” running ahead of the pack with only a short (15 minutes is typical) head start. At a given signal, the rest of the hash (the Harriers, Harriettes, hounds, or pack) set off in pursuit of the trail. The idea is to keep the pack somewhat together and this is achieved by setting false trails, cunning checks, and sneaky loops. The fitter front runners will often run twice as far as the more slothful members, yet still finish the run at the same time as the rest of the pack. The length and difficulty of the run depends on the hare and the terrain but will typically be between four and eight kilometers, or about 45 minutes to an hour of running with checks, false trails, and shortcutting.

The Circle (aka Religion)

At trail’s end hashers gather to drink beer and observe religious ceremonies . . . which consist of drinking more beer, this time ritualistically. Circles may be led by the hash Grandmaster, the Religious Adviser, or by a committee of mismanagement. Traditions (and the degree of rowdiness) vary from hash to hash, but in general the Circle consists of awarding “Down-Downs” for misdemeanors real, imagined, or blatantly made up, and the recipients will most likely have been dobbed in by their fellow hashers. Visitors are always given a Visitors Down-Down as are Virgins (first-time hash runners) and anyone else who comes to the attention of the Circle. The Circle can last a couple of minutes or half the night depending on the level of religious fervor of the hash. With changing times drinking has lost some of its importance and most clubs now modify their ceremonies to cater to non-drinkers and those stupid enough to think that hashing can improve their health.

The On-On (aka On-On-On, On-Afters, or Après)

Some hashes suspend ceremonies for awhile to consume food provided by the hare(s). Other hashes, at the conclusion of the Circle, repair to a nearby restaurant or pub. This is the social part of the hash, and the party usually breaks up afterward. In some hashes, however, religion may continue during or after On-Ons, with the telling of jokes and singing of songs, and all members, visitors, and virgins should come armed with at least one joke or song lest they be called upon.

Hash House Harrier History

THE HASH HOUSE    The ‘Hash House’ was the derogerative nickname given (for its unimaginative, monotonous food) to the Selangor Club Chambers in Kuala Lumpur, by the British Civil Servants and businessmen who lived and dined there between the two World Wars, when it had become something of a social centre of the times. Sadly, the ‘Hash House’ was demolished around 1964, to make way for a new highway, though the buildings housing the original stables and servants quarters are still in existence.

THE ANCIENT HARRIERS

The idea of harriers chasing on a paper trail was not new to Malaysia in 1938, as there had been such clubs before in Kuala Lumpur, Johore Bahru, Malacca and Ipoh (the ‘Kinta’ Harriers). “Horse” Thompson, one of the KLH3 Founding Fathers, recalled being invited on a run shorty after his arrival in Johore Bahru in 1932, which chased a paper trail and followed basic Hash rules every week, but that club had no name and died out around 1935. The other branch of our ancestry came from Malacca, where A.S. (“G”) Gispert was posted in 1937 and joined a club called the Springgit Harriers, who also operated weekly under Hash rules. “Torch” Bennett visited Gispert some months later and ran as a guest on a few runs.

THE HASH HOUSE HARRIERS

By 1938, “G” Gispert, “Horse” Thompson, and “Touch” Bennett had all moved to K.L. and, joined by Cecil Lee, Eric Galvin and H.M. Doig, they founded their own club, following the rules they had learned elsewhere. Gispert is credited with proposing the name ‘The Hash House Harriers’, when the Registrar of Societies required the gathering to be legally registered. Other early members included Frank Woodward, Philip Wickens, Lew Davidson, John Wyatt-Smith and M.C. Hay. After 117 runs, KLH3 was forced into tempory hibernation by the arrival of the Japanese, and sadly, “G” Gispert did not live to see his extraordinary creation revive, being killed in the fighting on Singapore island on February 11 1942. It took nearly 12 months after the war for the surviors of the HHH to reassemble. Bennett put in a claim for the lost Hash mugs, a tin bath and two old bags from Government funds, and run No. 1 was a trot around the racecourse in August 1946.

Strangely, it took another 16 years for the second H3 Chapter to be founded, in Singapore in 1962, followed by Kuching in 1963, Brunei, Kota Kinabalu and Ipoh in 1964, Penang and Malacca in 1965. Perth, Australia, was the first ‘overseas’ Chapter, formed in 1967, and even in 1974, when KLH3 had run No. 1500, the HHH was only 35 Chapters worldwide. Now the Hash world has over 1,200 active Chapters, in some 160 countries, and this despite the total absence of any central organisation. We are unique !

Words From a Founder

From the Kuala Lumpur Hash House Harriers 1500th Run Pamphlet, June 23rd 1973

The Hash House Harriers were founded in a moment of post-prandial inspiration at the Selangor Club Chambers, about 1937/38, by the inmates, who included myself; E.J. Galvin, Malay Mail; H.M. Doig (H&C – killed in an air crash just before the Japanese War); and A.S. Gispert of Evatt & Co. Gispert was the real founder – a man of great wit and charm, who was killed only just returned from leave in Australia to rejoin the Volunteers. I am glad of this opportunity to salute his memory. He was a splendid fellow, and would be happy to know the Harriers are still going strong, and are as merry and bright as ever – or more so. Gispert was not an athlete, and stress was laid as much on the subsequent refreshment, etc., as on the pure and austere running. It was non-competitive, and abounded in slow-packs. Life was then conservative rather than competitive.

The name was a mock allusion to the institution that housed and fed us. Later, Torch Bennett returned from leave, and produced order out of chaos – a bank account, balance sheet, and some system. But we prided ourselves on being rather disorganised – or the minimum organisation sufficed. The original joint maters were myself and “Horse” Thompson, still running somewhere – a past-master at short-cuts and the conservation of energy.

Celebrations were held in various places, and the first was in what is now the Legislative Council, then the Volunteer Mess. The oratory, I recall, was much the same as now. Lew Davidson is an old member. Morris Edgar was one, but apart from Lew and John Wyatt-Smith I do not think there are any more ante-diluvians still running. Philip Wickens was also one who kept us going post-war.

We started up again after the War due to Torch Bennett, who discovered a Bank Balance and put in a claim for War Damage on one tin bath, and two dozen mugs, and possibly two old bags (not members). We started by a small run in reduced circumstances round the race-course – then the horses were not much better.

The Emergency cramped our style but did not diminish our activities, and we were even called in for information on various by-ways in Selangor, but our period of usefulness to MI 5 was brief, and our information probably otiose. But the hares ran into two bandits at Cheras, who were later copped.

An Irish Accountant, Kennedy, drew up the Rules when we had to register as a Club, and he seems to have preserved the old traditions just as you do now.

Cecil H. Lee
Selamat Tinggal HHH
Kuala Lumpur
24th October 1958