Phnom Penh Hash House Harriers: In the Spotlight - Ian Young

In the Spotlight - Ian Young

In the Spotlight Ian Young

By Ed "Hazukashii" Howell
7 March 2022

I am always in search of new opportunities to capture HHH History, and this past weekend I flew down to San Jose, Costa Rica to chat with Ian Young.

This journey all started about four or five months ago, while preparing for the upcoming 50th anniversary of hashing in South Korea I sent a short note out to some of my Seoul Bruddahs asking about some old details of the Seoul H3.  I only received a few substantive replies, primarily from Hugh Robinson (who if you have read any of my previous steaming piles of guano) you may recall Hugh started hashing in Korea, and brought it back to the USA, and was the first American to start a (the third hash) club in the USA, the Little Rock H3.  Hugh provided some great info, but another email string lead me to the founder  . . . Ian Young.  Chatting via email, Ian provided some great insight into the early days of the Seoul H3 . . . and it was then I started plotting a trip to Costa Rica.

While having lunch with him today, Ian regaled me with many great stories about his life, and trips to Vietnam (during the war), Japan, Australia, and others Going way back, Ian was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he eventually found a job with Pfizer.  First assigned to Hong Kong, he was in sales, and had the opportunity to travel all over the Far East.  But it was not until 1969 that he first found the HHH.  Ian started hashing in Hong Kong on trail number 2 back in 1969, after seeing an announcement in the local newspaper.  Being a fit fellow, playing rugby and running, he was keen to give it a go.  He took to hashing right from the start, and was a regular.  Fast forward to 1971, and Ian was transferred to Seoul, where after a few months of getting settled, decided to get a hash going.  The first trail was on 11 Jun 1972, and 4 brave souls turned up for that first run, but once the words started getting out, it was not long before the circle of orange began to grow.  Hash circles as we know them today probably stemmed from Jakarta, but due to the extreme temperatures of Korea, a fire was essential while at the end of trail, where the pack would gather round with a cold beer, and keep their buns warm (that is how traditions begin). 

Now, the Seoul H3 is one of my favorite hash clubs, and fast forward to 1997 when I joined the SH3, the circle tradition had been honed into a work of shear brilliance.  Once the GM calls the circle to order around the fire (by the time I got there and probably well before, the fire was present in circle year round), the assembled pack is no longer allowed to speak, unless granted permission.  All down-downs are administered from a bed pan, starting with the hare.  The "Wingee" (FRB) was next, and then the GM would call up random hounds until the beer ran dry, or the time was right.  When you come up for your down-down, you had to sing a good song or tell a good joke . . . the pack would decide what good was.  It made for an orderly circle, there were no side conversations, and you never heard anyone shouting SHUT THE !@#!@ UP!!!    But I digress . . . (don't ask about the secret handshake . . . but I might be accommodating if you come up to me after some future trail with a cold beer).  The Seoul H3 has its own unique closing song, and has spawned 14 other hash clubs, most of them in Korea, Canada, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, China, Cambodia, and several states in the USA.

After ensuring the Seoul H3 was off to a good start, Ian was sent back to Hong Kong for a year and more good times with his old friends, before getting sent to Costa Rica.  A little slower on the draw here, not finding the right sort of people, and having other endeavors to fill his time, he did not get the hash going for almost 2 years.  One day, he met Bill Barbee, and that was all he needed.  Explaining the concept of hashing to Bill, he and Ian set about contacting some others and the San Jose H3 was formed on 3 Feb 1979 as the first hash club in Costa Rica.  It was only a few months later, and Ian was transferred to Colombia for 4 years, where he did not hash at all.  Next up was a three year assignment back in the United Kingdom, south of London, where he managed to hash on occasion.  Next he was sent to Indonesia, where he spent "8 glorious years" running with the Jakarta H3 on occasion, but mostly with the Jakarta Harriettes. 

Ian's last two assignments were in New York City and India, where he never managed to find the hash, mostly because he had a family by now, and was focused on that.  Having completed a successful career as country manager in many locations, he returned to Costa Rica with his wife, where Ian can often be found still scooting along on trail with the San Jose H3.  Ian never really acquired a hash name that stuck, but he was called Chino in Indonesia, and Speedy somewhere else along the way.

Coming soon, Spotlights on Costa Rica and an updated version for South Korea.

For many more articles like this on the history of hashing, check out . . .

On on!