A 69-year-old man was arrested for leaving behind a suspicious white substance at Woodleigh MRT station, causing it to be closed for security checks on Tuesday (April 18).
He had placed flour in the station to mark a trail for other members in his running club called Seletar Hash House Harriers, which organises hash runs in Singapore every Tuesday evening.
The incident also cast the spotlight on the outdoor activity. So, what exactly is 'hashing'?
1. It is an activity that combines cross country running and treasure hunt
Hashing was created by a group of British expatriates in Malaysia in 1938, and fashioned after an outdoor racing game called 'hares and hounds'.
In the game, a 'hare' lays a trail using toilet paper, flour, or chalk for a pack of 'hounds', who figure out the clues and aim to catch the 'hare' before it reaches the end of the trail.
A hash run is typically held over an hour or so.
2. There's an element of surprise in hashing
The temporary markings used in the trail may disappear over time, which makes the game challenging.
A 'hare' may throw the 'hounds' off its track with false trails, short cuts, and dead ends. These are designed to keep the pack of 'hounds' together regardless of their fitness levels or running speeds.
Participants also often find themselves going on runs in places ranging from the jungle to the city.
3. Runners have been hashing in Singapore for decades
4. Hashing has inspired several spin-offs
5. Hashing is a social activity
These groups often describe themselves as 'drinking clubs with a running problem'. Hashers often wind down from their runs in a 'circle' where they socialize, sing drinking songs and enjoy some drinks (usually beer) and food.