Poker/Bar Hash in Nanjing
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
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!
Read more Cindy Vine
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.