Run, jog, walk, or crawl following a trail around hidden parts of Nanjing to a mystery destination to consume beer, eat good food, and consume more beer.

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Hash in Nanjing

By cindyvine scurrilously edited by Will You Marry Me

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'.  '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 forever boys at heart.

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 official 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.

The original Hash House which served bland British food.

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 while 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

So, suitably infirmly set in tradition, and enticed only by the promise of another beer, Nanjing Hashers meet once a month to run or walk for a couple of hours (longer if hopelessly lost – not uncommon) while sounding the Hash call of “ON ON”. The trail is set by a Hare, and ends up at a disreputable noshery.

There the tired and enfeebled Hashers are:

Refreshed with beer or, in extreme cases, soft drinks.

Penalized with down-downs – after listening to the cacophony of the          Hash song, they must empty their glass and place said receptacle inverted on their head.

Welcome Virgins (first timers).

Enjoy good food (according to the time of day) and more beer.

Regale one another with real or imagined Hash exploits.

It should be noted that Nanjing Hash is promoted as a family Hash, and is less ribald than some other Hashes.


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, in less than organized order, which have been adapted slightly to fit in with the Nanjing Hash.


The head person. 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 dubious strength and unwavering sense of misdirection that permeates the fabric of the organization. In Angola there was a GM who wore a special GM hat and led the way for us followers to follow.  Unfortunately, Nanjing has Tom “Recycled” in this role. He is way too efficient to do the job justice.


This is unquestionably the most important position in the hash. The Beermeister/Wench has the very responsible 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. Most Hashers are eminently qualified for this position!


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 can turn a blind eye if suitable blandishments are offered! Laurence “Will You Marry Me” has also been known to fill the role of songmeister to the great suffering of Hashers.

4. 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 nonsense. 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.  


The holder of the purse-strings, collector of monies, and payer of bills. 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 credit, and the demands of those who think they should get a refund if the hare got lost on the trail.


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.  The list of forthcoming hares is recorded and circulated by the Receding Hareline email.


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.  


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. “Root” filled this role so well for many years and no-one has yet emerged to fill her shoes. For now she is Hash Harlot in abstentia.


Equipment requirements: A bugle or other appropriate wind instrument other than anal. 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!


The hash mouth must be loud, clear, passionate, articulate, humorous and possess an uncommon ability to think on his feet. It also helps if he speaks English. On the trail, he or she must be ever-present chastising Hashers and shouting On-On!


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.


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, Grand Master and Religious Advisor double as Songmeisters, but their choice is very limited to the traditional Hash Anthem,

"Here's to ____ he’s 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”.

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