According to one of the Founders of Hash (i.e. the Kuala Lumpur HHH or simply Mother Hash), ‘Horse’ Thompson, he ran a paper-chase in Johor Bahru way back in 1932 but the club had no name; and so recorded hashtory is now universally recognized to have started in 1938 in KL. The second chapter after a span of almost 30 years is Singapore HHH in 1962 and thereafter, due to the city’s international and cosmopolitan membership hashing spread throughout the world. The Johor Bahru Hash House Harriers was reputedly started by a Singapore member, A. Lammers, at the end of 1967; around the same time the RAF boys also started another chapter in Kluang which is the present day Kluang HHH; this latter chapter in its early years ran fortnightly.
From its inception the JBHHH (later legally registered with the ROS as ‘The Hash House Harriers Johor Bahru’ in 1977) was supposed to be modelled after its Singapore parent as a men-only kennel. The original forefathers, most of them planters, expatriates from across the Causeway and some local boys, allowed women to run until such time as they were able to garner enough CB-power to form their own Harriettes chapter just like the Singapore Harriettes. But as time went by, the wives, girlfriends and mistresses of JBHHH became too reliant on their men-folk for transport, amongst other physiological needs! And so it invariably evolved into a mixed chapter; in 1979 some of the JB hash puritans (headed by R. Chandran Menon or MGR) formed another men-only chapter which is the Tanjung Petri HHH on Mondays which is still alive and kicking today!
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From the beginning the GMs were mostly Kwailohs from across the Causeway; in later years, locals like K.K. Siow (from the Foh Chong Group) took over the mantle; then came a period of strong involvement by the staff of the then BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) which was then situated on what is now Taman Molek; they provided the backbone of JBHHH, giving us GMs like Maxi Stevens, Ahmad Masduki & Rahman Awang. It was during this period also there was an ‘invasion’ of the (mostly non-combatant) personnel from the ANZUS forces stationed in northern Singapore; these pastoral Kiwis (and some Aussies) loved our Malaysian jungles and estates; they will come in droves every Wednesday, often in an Army bus (the driver, chosen by turn, cannot drink!). Their weekly attendance can be as large as 30 to 40! These were good runners and good drinkers and they forged very warm hash camaraderie with us! A few non-Anzus members who were the originals from the Singapore HHH stayed on for various reasons, some finding our terrain more hashy and challenging, others simply finding the female terrains to be more attractive! Maxi Stevens was the first local to be GM, followed by (not in exact order), Ahmad Masduki, Patrick De Wind (from JKR), Rahman Awang, Don Kilpatrick, Sam Khoo , our beloved James ‘Screwdriver’ Tay, Subra ‘Maharajah’ Chellam, Tan Too Giok (Captain), Walter Lee, Chong Teck Siang (Baba Chong), K.L. ‘Bulldog’ Wong, Yap Yau Chou (Mongol), Tommy Hee (Doremi), Soh Choon Hock (So Big), our two lady-GMs the late and much-beloved Julie Kan (Juicy) and Teoh Siew Moi (Ice-cream) and the list goes with Raymond Lim (Flintstone) and Wong Kit Lin (Saddam Hussein) both helming the burgeoning club and then on to our hefty A. Magendran (Indomee).
In the 70s the terrain was always within less than half-hour drive from JB city; what is now Mount Austin Housing Estate was a favourite; it was sprawling rubber-palm estate of 14000 acres and the management was always very hash-friendly; we had many functions held at their guest-bungalow which they called Rumah Tinggi or at the pipe-line lawn. Our very own Maharajah’s family fiefdom Chellam Estate, then 1000 acres spread was also another popular site, especially the foot-ball field. Apart from these estates, other running areas were: Rumah Nenas Estate (now Desa Tebrau); Yukong Estate (now Taman Gaya); Kim Loong Estate (now Desa Cemerlang); the Ban Foo Road surrounding-smallholdings, Kulim Estate (the area around the Tamil School) and Sungai Tiram. To the east we had Hanyang Estate (now Seri Alam) and the series of quarries some of which are still crushing today; Ladang Plentong (now the Plentong Industrial Park); Teluk Jawa area (which are all houses now); and Permas Estate (now Permas Jaya). To the west the favourite was Linden Estate (now the UTM campus), Foh Chong Estate (now the Southern College campus), Ladang Skudai Bahru (Impian Emas) and the presently still-existing Ladangs Senai, Shansi and Amber. The Seelong Road then was only motorable up to Kampong Sinaran Bahru. What is now Bestari Indah and Bukit Indah was then approachable via a long detour along the Skudai River bank. The Danga-Sungei Melayu conurbation was accessible only by boat! Another favourite run-site was the Bian Heng Estate which is now Taman Universiti and the Rini Estate along the Gelang Patah Road (now Taman Mutiara Rini).
Apart from Tanjung Petri as mentioned, the other chapter which is a direct offspring of JBHHH is Kulai HHH which was formed by Lam Chon Fa with the assistance of some old stalwarts in 1978; these kennels have since spawned other third and fourth generation sons and grandsons down the family tree. If you scrutinize the Hash genealogy, painstakingly charted by Tumbling Bill Panton of Mother Hash, even some chapters in the Land of Oz and Kiwi-land listed have JBHHH pedigree. The present membership though helmed by a Bahasa-espousing Indomee, are mostly Mandarin-speaking. This doesn’t detract them from participating in many both international and local hash events and we are proud to have our presence felt at most of this vernacular functions! Over the years the membership has grown younger and this augurs well for the future of our club for the years to come. On-On!
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