WHERE DID IT ALL BEGIN
(or, The History of WH3)
Wanchai Hash (WH3) is the youngest of the local weekly hash groups and arose, as so many things do, from a conversation at the end of The Wanch bar between Bruce “Shirley Temple” Fletcher and Howard “Dances With Dogs” McKay. They noted that Hong Kong was one of the few places in Asia where very few Asian girls ran on the hash. They also noted that many people were at a ‘loose end’ on Sunday’s and, combining the two, felt that there was a place for another hash in the territory. Flyers were sent round to existing hashes and the first run was held from The Wanch on 10th April 1988 with around 100 runners.
Since that time WH3 has been one of the best attended hashes in Hong Kong, with well over 2500 runners on record, including a good mix from some of the other Hong Kong hashes as well as many visitors from other countries, and has proved to be a great social conduit, if not a very successful marriage bureau. Even those who hate running come along to join in the fun.
In April 2006 WH3 finally reached it’s maturity, though some may disagree that will ever happen, having been hashing in and around Hong Kong, as well as Kowloon, the New Territories and the outlying islands for 18 years. In July 2006 was the 1000th run weekend with many overseas visitors. Then in April 2013 WH3 celebrated it's 25th anniversary.
In it's time, and like many other hashes, it has managed a few memorable incidents. One of the earliest of these was at Run #31, which happened to coincide with H4 Run #1000. At the suggestion of Dances With Dogs, Shirley Temple designed a T-shirt that showed a dancing Minnie Mouse cavorting with the Drunken Dragon of H4. Underneath, emblazoned in large letters was “Wanchai hash celebrates 1037 runs” and underneath that, in tiny lettering, were the additional words “in conjunction with the Hong Kong Hash”. This design was unfortunately spotted in the printers by a H4 spy and heated phone calls followed as the staid old tarts of H4 had a complete sense of humour collapse and overlooked Rule No 1. Eventually a compromise was made that only 50 shirts would be printed. On the day we presented one of the shirts to the H4 Grand Master who took it reluctantly, holding the bag by one corner as it were about to burst into flames. No rules on the hash eh? Since that time WH3 has also attended the 1000th run of the Ladies hash (January 1991), South Side hash (November 1994) and Sek Kong hash (December 1997).
WH3 is also quite unusual as a mixed hash in that the GM is always a female (or Grand Mistress), the theory being that this would first encourage more girls to come along and secondly would avoid dominance by old hash b*stards who ‘know all about hashing’. This has generally worked well but there was that time when one GM, having decided that it was such a great position to be in, thought she would like to reappoint herself for one more term. Massive neck extensions broke out and the situation was made doubly funny by the South Side ringers shouting support for the harriette in question whilst various male members of the hash, most noticeably the before mentioned old hash b*stards, ‘spat the dummy’ well and truly. As the theme of the day was ‘drag’ this all added even more colour to an already riotous scene as guys strutted about in lipstick and dresses looking very angry indeed. Finally the harriette withdrew and a proper appointment was made.
Like most hashes we have a few real characters and quite a few interesting stories to go along with them. Here a few of those characters, some of whom you may have met:
Howard “Dance With Dogs” McKay
“DWD” was an engineer when living and working in Hong Kong and a co-founder of WH3, but he made his real money from all the beers that kept the hash happy when not out on trail at The Wanch and the Carnegies chain of bars, (those of you who have been to Taipei, KL, Perth or Singapore will know what we mean). He and Mouse eventually retired to the Philippines, where they built themselves a house and now spend most of their spare time golfing in the sunshine. He even sold The Wanch, but that's ok because we have a new hash bar now.
Derek “Dribble Dick” Dixon (RIP October 2013)
Dribble, as he is known to his friends, was probably the only hasher left from Run #1, way back in 1988, who still ran with us regularly, until he fell ill and ultimately passed away in October 2013. He had 842 runs and 63 harings to his name. He ran in Baghdad before coming to Hong Kong and later had to watch the airstrip he helped build get bombed by the Americans. However, his real claim to fame is as a ‘Supermodel’. One day he was enjoying a good ole English style fish ‘n chip supper in Harry Ramsden’s when he was approached by a talent scout who said he had just the ‘face’ they wanted for a new Burberry advert. Not sure what to expect the next day he was flying off on an all expenses paid trip to Shanghai plus a fee for simply standing on a bridge, seeing an elderly give a scarf to her grand-daughter and looking like he remembered doing that himself year’s before. Good work if you can get it. That was a few years ago now though, but the advert is still shown at times and Dribble could always be seen with a glint in his eye as the memory of his one-minute of fame returns. Click to see Dribble's Burberry Advert.
Bruce “Shirley Temple” Fletcher
Apart from being co-founder of WH3 “Shirley” is also famous for his t-shirt designs though he has retired these days. “Shirley” does not hash so much anymore, but you can still find him enjoying a beer in Wanchai. His ‘other job’ was as an air traffic controller, so if you are flying in/out of Hong Kong be warned. He may not actually control the aircraft anymore, but he trained a man who does.
Maggi “Motormouth” Reynolds
Motormouth appears to be known on almost every hash in the world, or at least it seems that way. Wherever you go there is a good chance that someone there knows her, or knows someone that knows her. We are not entirely convinced this is a good thing but find out for yourself because if you have never met before I am sure you will have done by the end of this weekend. Motormouth is on her way to being the first hasher to reach 1000 runs with WH3.
Michael “Pink Poofter” Cooke
“Pinkie” as he is affectionately known at WH3 is not hard to miss seeing as he runs the trails in his traditional pink t-shirt, one of only a few in existence… and he owns them all. He is had a few problems back in 2006, but we are not talking about the hip, which he had gold plated at the end of 2005. His quandary was whether to run or not to run on the 1000th weekend because that would mean his own personal 500th Wanchai run would not be the same day as he lays trail for his 500th run celebration, just one week later.
John “BOF” Lane (RIP October 2013)
“BOF”, or Boring Old Fart to use his full title, ran with WH3 for many years until HK Government put him out to pasture and he took himself over the water to Taiwan. He made regular return visits while there and once they had a fast railway connecting the North to the South, he finally moved back. Dances With Dogs remembers meeting him at a 10K race many years ago, when he already looked like an ‘old b*stard,’ and seeing they were running at a similar speed thought he would use BOF as a pace-maker for a while before forging ahead. Unfortunately for Dances With Dogs things did not quite go as well as planned and in less than a kilometre it was BOF who was doing the forging. BOF never really stopped running and to date has completed over 100 marathons and all the annual 100km (very hilly) Trailwalker events. In fact he is often remembered for finishing Trailwalker one day, hopping across to Macau for the marathon the following day and warming down on the hash away trip in the afternoon before returning to Wanchai and seeing the night out dancing in The Wanch. However, his ultimate claim to fame had him written up in Colonel Ken’s ‘Hardship Posting’ with (quite possibly) the world’s most expensive taxi journey.