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Hare and Hounds style chases have been around for centuries in one form or another. The original concept was to mimic the original hunting sport during times or in locations where sporting game was sparse. It was a normal transition to substitute the hounds with runners. Men, not as well endowed with the sense of smell, required a trail of paper to find their quarry. This sport was well entrenched long before these sportsmen became known as 'hashers' and the sport was referred to as Hounds and Hares or the Paper Chase.

The Hash House Harriers received its humble beginnings in 1938 from a British expatriate named Albert Stephen Ignatius Gispert, in what is now Malaysia.

Having a fondness for the "paper chase', he gathered together a group of expatriates in Kuala Lumpur that would later become a worldwide legacy. The fraternity received its name from the Selangor Club Chambers.

The "Hash House" was the mildly derogatory nickname given (for its unimaginative, monotonous food) to the Royal Selangor Club Chambers in Kuala Lumpur by the British civil servants and businessmen who lived and dined there between the two World Wars, when it had become something of a social centre of the times. Situated close to and behind the present Selangor Club, its function changed after independence and it became an office for the Water Board. Sadly, the "Hash House" was demolished around 1964 to make way for a new highway, Jalan Kuching, although the buildings housing the original stables and servants quarters are still in existence.

A "hare" would be given a short head start to blaze a trail, marking his devious way with shreds of paper, soon to be pursued by a shouting pack of "harriers." Only the hare knew where he was going . . . the harriers followed his marks to stay on the trail. Apart from the excitement of chasing the hare, reaching the end was its own reward, for there, thirsty harriers would find a tub of ice-cooled beer.

Known as "G", Mr. Gispert originally took on duties as the On-Sec, convincing Cecil H. Lee and Frederick "Horse" Thompson to become the first Joint Masters. The first runs averaged a dozen, although attendance could sometimes be counted on one hand.

This relatively peaceful endeavour was cut short with the advent of the Japanese invasion, during which several hashers distinguished themselves. Gispert died in the Battle of Singapore and has s marked grave. However, his name appears on one of the commemoration walls at Kranji War Cemetery

However, Torch Bennett re-established the hash after the war and also successfully sought war reparations for 24 enamel mugs, an old galvanized fin bath and two old bags. It took nearly 12 months after the war for the survivors of the Kuala Lumpur HHH to reassemble and post-war Run No. 1 was a trot around the racecourse in August 1946.

Strangely, it took another 16 years for the second HHH chapter to be founded, in Singapore in 1962, followed by Kuching in 1963, Brunei, Kota Kinabalu, and 1poh in 1964, Penang and Malacca in 1965. Perth, in Western Australia was the first "overseas" chapter, formed in 1967. Even in 1974, when KLHHH had Run No. 1500, the HHH had only 35 chapters worldwide. Now the Hash world has over 1200 active chapters, in some 160 countries, and this despite the total absence of any central organization. We are unique!

A now defunct publication, Harrier International, claimed over 1700 hashes in their listing. However, closer scrutiny found hundreds of outdated contacts or dead hashes, so it is still difficult to make an informed guess. With less accuracy, it could be said that there are indeed about 1500 to 2000 hashes out there, as many were started by hashers who do not have contacts with hash publications or simply don't care to register. Occasionally, there is a hash that finds out, usually by the accident of running into other hashers, that they, indeed, aren't the only one in the world.


Back in years 1999 / 2000 most of the pioneers of PIH2 were running with PH4, a Hash group established in the year 1998 but which suffered many problems and eventually, under new management, changed its name to Penang Rainforest Hash.

In September 2000 the pioneers of PIH2 felt that PH4 was being run in a dictatorial and undemocratic fashion, in particular the attempt to bar non-Malaysians from holding office. An attempt was made to hold an EGM to change the constitution but this was so vehemently opposed by the controlling group that it was felt better to break away and form a separate club. On September 30, 2000 at Green Chili Restaurant 16 Hashers gathered and decided to form the new Hash group. The Founding Members consisted of Nonok, Kim Blakeway, Ed Blake, St. Francis Joseph, Meg Ryan, Soh Hai, Hacksman, Sore Throat, Semen Looi, Soong, Su Tang, Hovis, Melons Murali, Doreena and John Black. (Nine of them are still members 16 years later) This new club (running on the same day of the week and at exactly the same time as PH4) held its inaugural run on Saturday October 7, 2000 under the leadership of Nonok and assisted by Melons, who did most of the work on the club constitution, and St Francis who was Co-Hare with Nonok for the first run. The first run was held near the apartments on Jalan Lembah Permai (near Vale of Tempe).

PiH2-1Participants of the First Run, October 7, 2000 Jalan Lembah Permai (nearby Vale of Tempe)


The first Hares prepare to set the run

There were 30 runners for the inaugural run along with 10 guests to introduce the new “No Name Hash Group” to the jungles of Penang Island. By the end of Year 2000 the club enjoyed a membership of 43 and quickly grew to 93 members by the end of 2001.

On November 11, 2000 the very first General Meeting of the club was held at Marina Bay, and with this the club’s new name, Penang International Hash Hounds became official. The word International was incorporated in the name to avoid restrictions with the Registrar of Societies and fully reflect the diverse background of the membership. With overwhelming support the GM would only be allowed to serve one year and could be elected after a gap of one year. (This was later changed in the constitution to the current rules). The officers were elected and sworn in:

  • Nonok – GM
  • St. Francis and Melons Murali – JM
  • Lan Chop – On Sex
  • Soh Hai – Hash Cash
  • Loh Hai – Hash Bard

Gradually with hashers from PH3 and The Harriet’s joining the club and members introducing their friends to this merry sport the club continued to grow. The club became official when registered with the Registrar of Societies on December 1, 2003. By the 10th anniversary in 2010, the membership stood at 139, and by the end of 2012 the membership reached 155. The culture of this hash club owes a lot to the cultures of Ipoh, Seletar and particularly Lion City Hash where Nonok had hashed previously. Icings, the circle and general frivolity were the order of the day and all races, creeds, colours and belief systems mixed together as a model of respect and cooperation to be proud of. Yes, there are disputes, but the disputes are settled in the Hash way, on ice.

Nonok, the first GM, led the club through infancy until the first official AGM in May 2003 where Soh Hai was elected to lead the club, with Iceman as VGM, Lan Chop as On Sex and Sore Throat as Hash Cash.

The constitution has a key clause inserted by Nonok and Melons that the GM had to stand down after 2 terms and could not be re-elected. This was to prevent the domination of the club by any one individual as this had been seen to be detrimental in many Malaysian hash chapters. We have had 2 members serve a 3rd term as GM, Iceman and Texas Bullshitter, although not consecutive terms. Also included in the constitution is the guideline that the club will never amass large sums of cash. Each year the club’s budget is spent with only the new subscriptions turned over to the new committee at the AGM, held in March each year. When Nonok left Malaysia in 2006 he passed the history of the club through the newsletters to Texas Bullshitter who has been able to fill in the missing newsletters to provide the historical record of this great club. Eventually all of the newsletters will be digitized and kept on the PiH2 website for all members with an interest to enjoy.

As of December 2015, as shown in the attached chart, 37% of the charter members and 35% of the members Year ending 2000, respectively, are still active members and participate in 48% of the runs.

PiH2-Graph1 Respectfully submitted: Nonok / Melons Murali and Texas Bullshitter

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