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Hashing towards 2010
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Hashing towards 2010
By Georgette Tan (The Borneo Post)

THEY are a small and relatively new group, and they did something that won’t have been possible had details like “small” and “new” bothered them.

The Kuching-based Hornbill Hash House Harriers went to Perth, Australia, and won the bid to host the next World Interhash.

Billed as the Sarawak Rainforest Interhash 2010, the event will see up to 5,000 pairs of feet criss-crossing Kuching from July 2 to 4 two years from now.

“Kuching was there for the first time … as the underdog,” said organising chairman Joseph Perianayagam, also known as Charlie.

“We were up against Bali, Kenya and Kuala Lumpur.”

They may be underdogs but the Sarawak Rainforest Interhash 2010 bidders were backed by some pretty big guns — Sarawak Convention Bureau, Sarawak Tourism Board (STB), Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board, Malaysia Airlines, Malaysian Hash Council, MASWings, MAS Kargo and Guinness Anchor.

Sarawak Convention Bureau chief executive officer, Jill Henry, said the successful bid marked the bureau’s biggest international win to date.

“Bidding for an international event this magnitude takes courage and commitment and I’m sure the success will help us spread the word about our great destination and secure more high profile conventions and meetings in the future,” she added.

Sarawak won the bid by 500 votes ahead of Kenya.

According to Charlie, most of the voters were Australians and they preferred somewhere closer home.

“Sarawak is a new destination for them. Many people there have never heard of Sarawak before. Plus the word ‘rainforest’ carries a lot of weight,” he explained.

Not surprisingly, the highest number of registrations so far comes from Down Under.

“After we won the bid, we (the group from Kuching) spent the rest of the day signing people up,” said Ozie Tungging, STB tourist co-ordinator and newly-minted Hornbill Hash House Harriers member.

“Everyone who went for the bid signed up on the spot.”

Apart from the lure of adventure in a new destination, the Aussies were also wowed by a folk dance presentation from Sarawak.

This was how Ozie got involved in the first place. The former dancer from Sarawak Cultural Village gave the bid team a crash course in ethnic dancing, and is proud of how well everyone did.

“They did very well for people who had never performed before. I really appreciate the work they put in,” Ozie acknowledged.

Both he and Charlie know where the credit lies for them to have come so far.

“Gracie Geikie, CEO of STB, is the backbone of the operation. She gave us her full support,” Charlie noted.

Geikie was so involved that she accompanied the team to Perth and was in the thick of the action from the start.

“The success augurs well for Sarawak’s position as a major attraction for nature, culture and adventure. These are very important to today’s travellers looking for places that offer a back-to-nature, stress-free environment with modern amenities,” she said.

thesundaypost also talked to Warwick Andrew, travel and cruise specialist of Frontier Travel, New Zealand, who

was recently in town to look for suitable hotels for his clients — Kiwi hashers.

“New Zealand’s response to Kuching’s hosting the next World Interhash is 100 percent,” he declared.

“It’s a close, safe and friendly destination. Cost-wise, it’s also reasonable.”

Andrew got involved with the hashers when a group asked him to take them to Phuket, Thailand.

“They invited me to join them and I’ve been hashing ever since.”

He has become the “hash go-to guy” although the Sarawak Rainforest Interhash 2010 will be his first inter-Asia event.

“The STB is hosting my visit and showing me around Kuching. I’ve been to a number of the local tourist highlights with an excellent guide,” he said of his recent trip to the city.

“Kuching is full of smiling, happy people. Everyone is so pleasant and obliging.”

Andrew admitted he only saw a small part of Sarawak and felt most people did not know what the state had to offer.

“The hashers are not going to come just for the event. They will want to stay on and explore Sarawak.

“For example, I’ve never heard of the Rainforest World Music Festival (RWMF) until now. It’s a bit late to point people here this year but there is always next year,” he said.

The 500 early birds who signed up in Perth also secured tickets to the 2010 RWMF. In addition, a new Sarawak mascot was introduced at the destination booth — Harry, the six-foot hornbill, was a hit, drawing visitors to check out the booth and sample the satay.

During the bidding, a video featuring Sarawak’s attractions and images from the successful Pan Asia Hash in 2005 provided the backdrop for a 10-minute staged presentation, feat- uring the specially choreographed cultural performance and live presentation from the Hornbill Hash Bid team.

The World Interhash began in 1978 with Hong Kong as the first host. Since then, it has been held once every two years and considered the “mother of all hashing events.”

The next hash may seem like a long way off but Charlie says you can sign up now. “We also need sponsors.”

As a small and relatively new group, they are also realistic and do not expect to do everything themselves. Charlie is looking to the various local hash clubs for help in this milestone event.

“We’ll be calling you,” he said.

For further information, contact organising secretary Josh John (012-8599130 or 013-8122681) or email him at josh63@streamyx.com. You can also visit http://www.borneointerhash2010.com.

Posted on: 2008/5/11 22:05
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Re: Hashing towards 2010
Home away from home
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2005/2/27 19:34
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i saw the video and its great..even the borneo convention centre video is also great..

Posted on: 2008/5/12 11:33
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Re: Hashing towards 2010
Home away from home
Joined:
2006/1/19 16:33
From Kuching, Sarawak
Posts: 1824
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oooooo man.. we are going to be invaded by hashers again !!!!

Posted on: 2008/5/12 11:47
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