Poker/Bar Hash in Nanjing

Playing 'Hares and Hounds' in 1838
Playing 'Hares and Hounds' in 1838
Gispert
Gispert
The original Hash House which served bland British food.
The original Hash House which served bland British food.

What is the Hash other than weedy stuff some people smoke?

In the 1800's English schoolboys used to play a game called 'Hounds and Hares'. The 'Hares' would leave a trail of paper scraps along their route across fields, hedges, streams, bogs, and hills. They would then be madly chased by the 'Hounds'. This involved much screaming and laughing and was a lot of fun. Isn't it strange, that men never quite grow up and remain boys at heart forever. In the 1930's some British men bored with the humdrum civil servant life in the colonies, and endless cocktail parties, started up their own version of their favourite childhood game. Imagine fully grown men in their suits and bowler hats chasing each other through the dark alleys in Malacca, littering the ground with a trail of paper. This became known as 'Paper-chasing.'

The Hash House Harriers as we know it today was founded in Malaya (now Malaysia) by Albert Stephen Ignatius Gispert, an English chartered accountant. A group of businessmen and civil servants used to meet together to play 'Hares and Hounds' and lay their paper trails through the streets of the city of Kuala Lumpur. They wanted to make it an offical club and attract more members to make it even more fun. At that time, local authorities required all clubs and societies to be properly registered. There was a club most of these guys used to eat at which did not serve delicious Malaysian Cuisine, but instead boring bland boiled British food, which the men derogatively referred to as hash and the dining club as the Hash House. So, for want of a better name, Gispert registered his club as the Hash House Harriers.

The Hash House Harriers are now found in major cities all over the world and especially in places where there is a large expat community. It is a running/walking club where people get to socialize and drink lots of beer wile keeping fit. The current philosophy hasn't changed much from the original charter set up by Gispert and his cronies, which was:

  • To promote physical fitness among our members
  • To get rid of weekend hangovers
  • To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
  • To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel

Hash Mouth on a plinth shouting On-On to the straggler Hashers!
Hash Mouth on a plinth shouting On-On to the straggler Hashers!
The Religious Advisor calling out the transgressions on the Hash.
The Religious Advisor calling out the transgressions on the Hash.
the Hash Mouth who was also the Hare, handing out Poker cards with the On-Sec trying to keep a low profile behind her.
the Hash Mouth who was also the Hare, handing out Poker cards with the On-Sec trying to keep a low profile behind her.

The Hash Officers

As with any properly run organization, there are officials, the people in power.  As the Nanjing Hash is quite a small Hash, we do not have all the officials, or some people here have more than one title as they double up or in some cases, even triple up on jobs.  These are the official Hash job descriptions which I have adapted slightly to fit in with the Nanjing Hash.

BEERMEISTER: This is unquestionably the most important position in the hash. The Beermeister has the very resonsible job of making sure that the very lifeblood of hashing, the fuel to continue and complete the hash, is available at each and every hash event. They have to make sure that they procure copious amounts of brew at the lowest prices. And that when required, the beer is cold and ready to be poured down the throats of all the Hashers. This job requires good negotiation skills and a weak mind.

2. GRAND MASTER: The head man. The chairman of the board. The big cheese. The guiding light. The GM is not simply a figure head for the hash, rather he personifies the hash’s character (or lack thereof.) He leads with a dynamic strength that permeates the fabric of the organization. In Angola we had a GM who wore a special GM hat and led the way for us followers to follow.  Unfortunately, Nanjing seems to be devoid of a GM, maybe that's why we run around as if our tails have been chopped off.

3. HARE RAISER: The Hare Raiser makes sure that there’s a hare (or hares) for each hash, and that the start location is known to the On-Sec well in advance of hash day for publicity purposes. The Hare Raiser IS the hare if (s)he can’t find anyone else to do it.  Luckily, our On-Sec in Nanjing doubles as the Hare Raiser.

4. HASH CASH: The holder of the purse-strings. Someone needs to dash about the start of each hash begging for money. Someone has to keep track of what comes in and what goes out (commonly referred to as "the old in and out.")  This trustworthy soul must withstand the whining of the Hares who have over-spent as is oft to happen as hares are known for getting carried away on a whim, the whimpering of those who forgot their fees begging for credt, and the demands of those who think they should get a refund if the hare got lost on the trail. Our On-Sec triples as the Hash Cash.

5. HASH FLASH: The person who captures on film for posterity all embarrassing hash moments. The hash flash must have an acute sense of the absurd to know what to take photos of, and how to photograph unsuspecting hashers at their worst possible moments.  On this hash, I was the Hash Flash.

6. HASH HARLOT: A trashy wench who has seen the dark side of hashing, and likes it! One with a lust for life who, revels in being the butt of the jester’s ribald wit, the object of the songmeister’s bawdy lyric, and the centerpiece of all sensual hash repartee. I have to say, Emma, we do have one of those here in Nanjing.  Now, who could that be?

7. HASH HORN: Equipment requirements: A bugle or other appropriate wind instrument. Performance venue: The hash trail. Musical ability: Optional.  Unfortunately, in Nanjing who do not have a Hasher with a horn.  Definitely no horny hashers on our hash in Nanjing!~

8. HASH MOUTH: The hash mouth runs the official business at the On-On with an iron hand. He must be loud, clear, passionate, articulate, humorous and possess an uncommon ability to think on his feet. It also helps if he speaks English.  In Nanjing our Hash Mouth happens to be a woman who has no need of a megaphone as she has a natural foghorn voice.  This weekend, she was seen standing on a plinth in the middle of the sidewalk, chastising Hashers and shouting On-On!

9. HASHIT KEEPER: This is arguably the most complicated position within the hash hierarchy. The responsibility surrounds custody of a large card-board box filled with the flotsam and jetsam of past hashes. Precisely why this crap is retained is a mystery shrouded in the mythology of hashdom.  In Nanjing, the Hashit Keeper is just another role of the poor and badly paid On-Sec.

10. ON-SEC: This position is the masochist’s dream. He struggles with piles of papers, miles of computer wire, and attempts to occasionally produce a Hash Trash to keep the hash members reasonably informed. He is the P2H4 official representative on the Internet maintaining the Web Site, eMail lists and other such forms nonesense. The On-Sec also maintains the hash membership data base and publishes the Hound Directory. Boring stuff to say the least.  But in Nanjing, the On-Sec is the only really organised Hash Official.  And, she's also leaving in June.  Maybe.  Who will be able to assume her many roles?

11. SONGMEISTER: This is a hasher with no self-respect. (S)he never lacks for a song suitable to the occasion. His songs are risqué, lewd, and vulgar. The Songmeister speaks with other hashers and hashes to acquire songs to add to the hash hymnal. The mission is to explore new tunes and new celebrations. To boldly go where no Songmeister has gone before (pardon the split infinitive.)  In nanjing, our Hash Mouth doubles as the Songmeister, but her song choice is very limited to the traditional Hash Anthem, "Here's to ____ he is true blue, he's a hasher through and through, he's a bastard so they say, and he'll never get to heaven it's a loing, loing way....Drink it down-down-down-down.   Think we might have to give Hash Mouth a songbook and teach her some new songs!

12. RELIGIOUS ADVISOR: Keeper of the faith. Enforcer of the scriptures. This is the hasher who has seen the light (Bud light) and can taste in his soul the true spirit of Hashing. The religious advisor spreads the word and inspires the zest and zeal of the hash in all participants. Any hasher found transgressing the spirit of hashing is disciplined by the RA. He is the keeper of the sacred Laws of Hashing and comes up with sufficiently plausible lies to cover any serious questions of propriety of actions within the hash.  Our RA in Nanjing can't be trusted with any information, as he'll bring it up during the forfeit time and make you down-down for an imagined transgression.  But then, he did turn a blind eye to us accidentally taking a taxi at the end of the hash to the final destination yesterday after we got lost!

30 May 2009, Nanjing Hash House Harriers Run

I came up with the idea of the Poker/Bar Hash after doing the same kind of thing in a Hash in Angola.  Incidently, if you're interested, my Hash Name is Piss Artist.  You get given a Hash Name after you've attended a few Hashes and hared at least two Hashes, and the name you are then christened with goes with you wherever you might hash in the future, and is always related to something you have done.  The Hash Mouth in Nanjing goes by the Hash Name Root.  I don't think it is anything to do with a carrot. 

There were 32 of us doing a Poker/Bar Hash in Nanjing for the very first time.  We got off to a start with a slight hiccup, as the bar which was supposed to be the first stop was closed.  Miscommunication.  When the Chinese manager says, "Sure no problem" when you say you'll be stopping off for fifty free beers and in return you'll advertise their name on your T-shirt, there's a good chance they didn't understand you.  When you confirm the date and time and they say, "I know, I know, I know," as if you are slightly thick and ridiculous for asking, it means they don't have a clue what you are talking about.,  No worries.  The first bar stop was literaly five steps from the start and nobody was that thirsty anyway, and most didn't even realise our first stop was a non-event.  Thank God as I had organised that stop.

If you can imagine 32 adults of all shapes and sizes dressed in matching green t-shirts with a black trim, pounding the pavements following a trail of flour splodges, shouting "On-On" loudly at the top of their voices at different intervals, then you can imagine how it must seem to the local Chinese people trying to go about their daily business in the city.  We must appear to be a horde of nutters coming down the street.

Unfortunately, after the third to last stop, four of us took a wrong turn and got hopelessly lost.  One Hasher, who I do not care to name, distracted us by showing us his new underwater sony video camera.  We had to wait while he videoed everything along the way.  We looked up, and the other Hashers had gone.  Just the four of us left, alone and isolated from the pack.  The video culprit thought he noticed a flour splodge in the middle of the road, which we now realise was probably some white paint that had been messed.  We set off at a brisk pace in completely the wrong direction.  There was only one thing left, catch a taxi to the next stop, which we did.  At first we felt guilty, but then we justified our cheating by saying we were following the flour, which I had on a photo on my camera.  Needless to say, we arrived at the beer stop before the other walkers, but after the runners.  They believed our story that we'd used the Chinese girl with us's local knowledge to take a short cut.  This wasn't a lie, as she did give the directions to the taxi driver in Chinese. 

If there is a Hash near where you stay, I highly recommend it, especially if you are an expat living in a foreign country.  It is definitely a way to see the city and meet many people you'd normally not meet to socialise with.  Let's face it, socialising with people from different countries is one of the benefits of expat-living.  Some Hashes focus more on the drinking part than others, some are for men only and some are family hashes.  It is worth checking out.  Look here to see if there is a hash near you.

Enjoy viewing our Hash!

The start of the Poker/Bar Hash from Danny's Irish bar at the Sheraton Hotel.  The challenge - 7 bars spread out through the city, 7 cards.  Who'll have the best hand?
The start of the Poker/Bar Hash from Danny's Irish bar at the Sheraton Hotel. The challenge - 7 bars spread out through the city, 7 cards. Who'll have the best hand?
Some Hashers have strange ways of limbering up before the start of the Hash.  This unfortunate Hasher was later made to drink Down-Downs for using technology on the hash.  Note his Ipod blatantly hanging from his pocket!
Some Hashers have strange ways of limbering up before the start of the Hash. This unfortunate Hasher was later made to drink Down-Downs for using technology on the hash. Note his Ipod blatantly hanging from his pocket!
These two Hashers luckily escaped being noticed by the Religious Advisor, for wearing incorrect foot attire.  Mind you, he's an Aussie himself so probably thought there was nothing wrong with them wearing thongs on the hash.
These two Hashers luckily escaped being noticed by the Religious Advisor, for wearing incorrect foot attire. Mind you, he's an Aussie himself so probably thought there was nothing wrong with them wearing thongs on the hash.
One of the seven beer stops.
One of the seven beer stops.
One Hasher found it hard to contain her excitement when we stopped off at another bar on The Hash.
One Hasher found it hard to contain her excitement when we stopped off at another bar on The Hash.
Beer flowed freely within these doors.
Beer flowed freely within these doors.
A drink break.
A drink break.
Some Hashers needed to pee badly after so much beer!  And then thought they'd had three appendixes removed, then changed it to their adenoids, then a hernia, but when we were all cracking up as he got more confused, he showed us his throat which mean
Some Hashers needed to pee badly after so much beer! And then thought they'd had three appendixes removed, then changed it to their adenoids, then a hernia, but when we were all cracking up as he got more confused, he showed us his throat which mean
Flour on trees to mark the trail is a far better idea than flour in sidewalks which have been swept away in the past, resulting in Hashers and hares getting completely lost.
Flour on trees to mark the trail is a far better idea than flour in sidewalks which have been swept away in the past, resulting in Hashers and hares getting completely lost.
This random ice-cream shop name caused us some mirth on the Hash.  We decided it would actually be quite a funky name back home.
This random ice-cream shop name caused us some mirth on the Hash. We decided it would actually be quite a funky name back home.
The feet of the 'cheaters' who took a taxi after following what they thought was flour and ended up walking for kilometres in the complete opposite direction to everybody else, getting hopelessly lost before jumping into a taxi.  Thankfully, this tra
The feet of the 'cheaters' who took a taxi after following what they thought was flour and ended up walking for kilometres in the complete opposite direction to everybody else, getting hopelessly lost before jumping into a taxi. Thankfully, this tra
Another beer stop at the famous Jimmy's
Another beer stop at the famous Jimmy's
A Hasher wearing his shades inside, not realising that the sun wasn't shining and the interior lighting was dim.
A Hasher wearing his shades inside, not realising that the sun wasn't shining and the interior lighting was dim.
The infamous Jimmy checking to see who had the winning Poker hands.
The infamous Jimmy checking to see who had the winning Poker hands.
The winning hands!
The winning hands!
The last stop at the Himalaya Restaurant, where dinner will be served and transgressions punished.
The last stop at the Himalaya Restaurant, where dinner will be served and transgressions punished.
The Noobies to the Hash started us off drinking DOWN-DOWNS and had to explain, "Who made them come" by answering, "Cindy made me come" or whoever it was who made them come.
The Noobies to the Hash started us off drinking DOWN-DOWNS and had to explain, "Who made them come" by answering, "Cindy made me come" or whoever it was who made them come.
Transgression:  Using Technology on the Hash.  Punishment:  Down-down.
Transgression: Using Technology on the Hash. Punishment: Down-down.
The transgression caught on camera!  Doing unspeakable act to a poor shopkeeper's model!
The transgression caught on camera! Doing unspeakable act to a poor shopkeeper's model!
Hash Mouth is always being punished for something!  this time it was for doing unmentionable things to a model!
Hash Mouth is always being punished for something! this time it was for doing unmentionable things to a model!

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Comments 24 comments

Nelle Hoxie 7 years ago

What an exciting life you lead, this looks like so much fun, in such an exotic atmosphere! I am just a little jealous. But I wasn't cut out for the ex-pat life. I lived in Taipei for two years (1976-78) fresh out of college and couldn't wait to return to New England and Harvard Square in Cambridge.


Gypsy Willow profile image

Gypsy Willow 7 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

I would say a jolly good time was had by all! Bully for you!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Yeah Nelle, some people do hate the expat life and yearn for home. I love it and guess that's why I battled to settle down to suburbia in New Zealand.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Gypsy, the Hash is always good fun, anywhere in the world.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

Man-o-man this looks like fun..I don't wanna hold a position, tho, I just wanna play!! Cindy you rock!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Why, thanks Candie, you should check out if there's a Hash near you!


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

Gawd Cindy and you are going to leave all this excitement?

Gawd have you written 4 Hubs today?


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Nah Blonde, 2 yesterday and 2 today, and the second instalment from my Teaser will be on later today as well. Excitement, you get this anywhere in the world! lol Actually BP, could have seen you there as Hash Trash downing beers even if you weren't transgressing lol


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

I have never seen it here Cindy and believe me BP has seen a few things


Emma Harradine (AKA Root) 7 years ago

Fantastic article! Thanks for promoting the NJ Hash... I'll forward the link to friends! The only thing I'm not in agreement with is that I'm the Songmeister... That's definitely NOT a job for me! To be the Songmeister you need a good strong singing voice! Have you ever heard me sing?!? 'Drowning cat' doesn't even begin to describe!!!

I reckon the RA should double up! And... I think 'Long Tongue Two Balls' (Ingo) has become our Hare Raiser!

Hash Harlot... Hhmm?!? I have NO idea who that could be?!? ; )

Thanks for being a Hash Flash! Your photos are great! ON ON! E x


Paper Moon profile image

Paper Moon 7 years ago from In the clouds

I have heard of the hash. Seems like fun.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Hey Emma, you shout the songs no problem!

PM, Hashes are heaps of fun!


blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

So sorry to hear about the little boy Cindy that really is just the most tragic thing. I hope you are ok Cindy, that little boy is probably up in heaven now, at peace with joy, running in fields of green, surrounded by beautiful angels.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Thanks BP, I hope you are right, in fact, I'm sure you are right.


Candie V profile image

Candie V 7 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

How would one find out if there's a hash? Yellow pages? Kingston, I believe, is 'hash-free'.


Triplet Mom profile image

Triplet Mom 7 years ago from West Coast

This is new to me, thanks for sharing sounds very interesting. I swear I learn something new everyday and I love it.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

I have got a link somewhere in the text, Candie. Click on the blue writing and it'll take you to a place where you can find out if there's a Hash near you. I think there are about 350 of them scattered over the states.

TM, I agree, one has to learn something new ever day.


squarepeg 7 years ago

A real blast. The Nanjing Hash was my first one. Met alot of great people. Locals and expats. The new challenge...how to train for a Hash? Drink more, run more...at the same time! Huge thanks to Emma and Julie who made me feel welcome even before the event.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Excellent Square Peg!


lxxy profile image

lxxy 7 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Dang, and here I was...lead by the name Hash... ;)

Way cool stuff though, it's truly nice to keep seeing this side of Nanjing, makes me want to become an expat meself.


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 7 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Ixxy, I highly recommend the expat lifestyle!


late comer 6 years ago

ha ha , finalily i am sign in !!!

Hello Everyone!!!


cindyvine profile image

cindyvine 6 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine Author

Oh my goodness, Late Comer, did it take you seven months to leave the last bar?


late comer 6 years ago

yep , and still hangover now !!!

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