For the uninitiated hash might refer to a euphoric substance that you smoke but in this context it has nothing to do with smoke but rather about having a good time… because that’s what hashers do, have a good time! Hashers are members of the worldwide running club the Hash House Harriers and you’ll find them everywhere… including chapters in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and of course in KL where the organisation was founded in 1938.
In fact, there are around 2,000 clubs worldwide (including one in Antarctica!) so you can always find one near you. It should therefore be no surprise that the Danish Ambassador to Malaysia, HE Børge Petersen had quite a few hashers amongst the guests at his annual Christmas reception for the Danish community in KL recently… they were not invited as hashers but as part of the Danish community in Malaysia.
The afternoon started off with the annual Church Christmas service and ended at the Ambassador’s residence with fingerfood, drinks and a buffet. More than 80 Danes and friends turned up with their families at this informal gathering.
Traditionally Danish hashers don’t advertise their connection with the hash but somehow at this year’s Christmas event it spontaneously happened. Some hashers were amazed to find out who were actually members of other clubs… and who were hashers but not presently running.
So what do hashers actually do? They run a paper chase kind of trail mostly on the outskirts of town and this often happens to be in oil palm or rubber plantations when in Malaysia… but occasionally also including some secondary or tertiary jungle. Normally, the hares that set the run will try and pick a beautiful spot so this can on occasions be the ultimate sightseeing at the same time… hashers often visit places that are not on the beaten tourist track.
When the trail several times during the run stops, the runners will have to check out where it continues… and so the route goes for one hour or so depending on the club of which there are over 20 in KL.
After the run hashers socialize and that’s what many Danish expats (and other hashers as well) enjoy the most… time for a chat and a beer and some fun. Hashers like to have a good time and the hash is one of the more unusual networks where status of work or in society does not matter. What matters is the running and having a good time.
The camaraderie and running together with others is what many non-active hashers miss the most when they are not active anymore… but once a hasher, the spirit of hashing will always be there. The fun, the openness, the adventure, the songs… just ask the Danish Ambassador who is now too busy to participate in active hashing but enjoyed it tremendously when he was active earlier in his diplomatic career. And once again at his Christmas do he was ready for one of the all time favourite hash songs!
Many people only realise there are such sporting and network opportunities when they are overseas. If you are one such person and should you wish to check out hashing yourself just ask around “how do I get in contact with the hash?” You’ll be surprised to realize how many people know at least a hasher or two who can put you on the right trail.
ON-ON as they say in the hash!