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Hashing in Malaysia

Drinkers with a running problem (hash house harriers)

sunny 90 °F

Robin’s uncle, Charles, has long been a dedicated member of a few Hash House Harrier chapters and he didn’t hesitate to immerse us into the culture by planning our stay around hashes :-) Hashing originated in Kuala Lumpur in 1938 and is home of the Mother Hash. There are 2-3 Hash chapters running per day in KL but so far we have attended only the Harriettes, Petaling, and the Full Moon Hashes (chapters vary in size from 20 to 200 participating hashers). A hash run is a secret route that is set by a Hare, who makes check points in the trail so the front runners are slowed down (while they figure out which way the route continues) enough to regroup with the rest of the hashers. These runs are typically set in the middle of palm plantations, bamboo forests or unmarked jungles and it is not uncommon to have to bushwhack. A good hash is set in such a way to keep runners of all speeds together in a pack and still be able to keep a good clip. This requires the Hare to make many planning trips with a gps at the run site for some reconnaissance they call a recce (pronounced recky) We went with Charles on a recce and blazed our way through rubber, palm and jungle, but the most fun was all of the many hash tales (some of which contained machetes and pythons).

While running with the hash chapter, there is specific terminology that is used to find your way, or to let others know where to go:

On-On! --> I am on the defined route and can visibly see the Hare’s route markings.
Checking! --> The route markings have ended at a checkpoint and I am searching for the next set of markings.
Are You? --> Where are you? Used to vocally find the front runners who could be spread out searching for the next set of markings.
On-Check! --> I am at the checkpoint.
Back-Check! --> I am requesting help checking backwards on the trail to see if the next set of markings are actually behind us.
On-Call! --> I am following someone who found the next set of markings and has called ‘On-On’ somewhere in front of me
On paper! --> I am now following the markings, and am confirming the previous ‘On-On’

Some of the hash runs we did were on trails through parks, and others were more of a bushwack through the jungle on steep trail-less terrain with thorny branches, stream crossings, leaches, monkeys, giant monitor lizards, and wild boars. On our first run, we showed up in the typical city running gear, and were definitely underdressed... but we quickly got the hang of hash style:
Most hashers wore long soccer like socks to avoid the jungle plants scratching up your shins and 80’s style headbands to keep the sweat out of their eyes. By the end of the hash we had completely drenched our clothes with sweat (dom arroyo style) and were fairly muddy. Uncle Charles had quite the setup for rinsing off; he rigged up a ten gallon jug of water with a mini pump + shower head that he had powered via the DC outlet.

The run culminates at a beer van containing plenty of hydration options including Tiger beer, Anchor beer and 6.8% export strength Guinness (we think there were also sodas and water available).

The hashes are fairly well organized; after the run, shower, and copious beer, the runners get into a circle and start “charging” people for any silly actions that they might have done before, during, or after the run (typically they are humorous things like getting lost, forgetting shoes or wearing new clothes). A charge consists of the charged person standing on a box or chair in the middle of the circle with a ¼ pint of beer. The charger then tells a tale of why this person deserves the public ridicule and then the entire circle sings an appropriate drinking song which concludes with “drink it down down down down…” at which point the charged person in the middle downs the beer.

After the circle, there is feast, which is called the On-On, and is either at the run site with a caterer, or at a local restaurant. We were very lucky to be able to attend so many hashes while in KL, something that we hope to find in other countries while we continue our travels.

Posted by Robin-and-Kevin 07:19 Archived in Malaysia Tagged run hash hasing

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