69-year-old man who sprinkled baking flour at Woodleigh MRT was practicing a 1938 tradition known as ‘hashing’

A 69-year-old man was nabbed by the police yesterday for using baking flour to mark a running route at several areas in Woodleigh MRT station.

It sparked off a bioterrorism scare – the white powder could be a reminder of anthrax scares in the past.

In 2001, five out of 22 people in the US died after getting into contact with anthrax that were placed in postal letters.

After this incident, more than 25 pranksters in Singapore and abroad tried to create anthrax scares in Singapore.

In light of heightened terrorism threats, all security threats are taken seriously.

The man who sprinkled flour to mark a running trail known as ‘hashing’- he was part of a running group called the Seletar Hash House Harriers.

Here are 5 things you need to know about ‘hashing’.

1) It was founded by the British in Kuala Lumpur (KL) in 1938

A group of British expatriates decided to set up a running club called the Hash House Harriers. It was named after their meeting place at Selangor Club, nicknamed as “Hash House”.

“Hare and Hounds” is an old English game also known as the paper chase (via fotolibra.com)

It was said to be inspired by “Hare and Hounds” – an old English game where some of the players, called the “hounds”, would chase others, called the “hares”. The hares would have left a trail of paper scraps.

In the modern hash run, the “hare” is the leader who would blaze a trail and the people following are the “harriers”. They have to chase the hare and solve the clues.

2) Flour and chalk are not allowed at nature reserves

Around the world, flour, chalk and paper are used to mark the route in hash runs.

A member of the Seletar Hash House Harriers posing with a chalk mark symbolising “direction check” (via their Facebook)

In Singapore, however, there are guidelines which harriers have to comply with or they would have to face a warning followed by a fine for non-compliance.

For instance, they are only allowed to use toilet paper at the nature reserves and have to clean up the trail by the next day.  Click here to read the full set of guidelines.

3) There are several Hash House Harrier groups in Singapore

Singapore is said to house the second-oldest hash movements in the world.

Given our proximity to KL where the hash movement first started, there could be some truth in that saying.

Not all running groups are mixed, there are even all-male and all-female groups.

The Singapore Hash House Harriets, an all-female group who allow men to join (via their Facebook)

To name a few, Singapore Sunday Hash House Harriers is a mixed group while the Singapore Hash House Harriets is an all-female group (hash runs are organized by females who allow men to join).

The Hash House Harriers Singapore is a mens only chapter.

Don’t worry if you are confused by the names, so are we.

4) The hares have their own nicknames

The hares have their own nicknames (via the Singapore Sunday Hash House Harriers)

For some reason, the hares give themselves kinky nicknames. Yes, even those in the all-female group.

“Dripping bush”, “Tight lips”, Teeny Weeny Willie” are just a few out of the many weird names we spotted online.

5) How to read chalk markings

Chalk markings usually depict different things so if you’re keen to do a hash run, do familiarise yourself with the “chalk talk”.

Look out for chalk markings along the hash run route (via instructables.com)

If you’re just a passer-by, don’t be naughty and change these markings!

Last but not least, the Hash House Harriers has an international slogan: A drinking club with a running problem. Runners with beer bellies – that’s what they are!

Anne Sim

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An adventurer who likes to try new things all the time. Bungee jumping excluded.