Racing and the importance of empathy
What has been noticeably “missing in action” these days in Hong Kong, where the government has been busy with their various and confusing foxtrots and tangos creating citywide panic as those at the bottom of the totem pole prepare for the worst is this: mental health issues that are affecting many.
Mental health issues are the silent enemy. It’s a very different kind of pandemic where suppression is not the answer. I should know.
As we should all know by now, depression does not discriminate. There always comes a breaking point.
This is where there has been frighteningly poor leadership around the world- leadership that doesn’t seem to even try to hide the huge chasm that exists between the very wealthy and everyone else, and with many who can help showing very little empathy. Remember this word. Empathy.
In Hong Kong horse racing, the two fines of HK$600,000 for two horse trainers who burst that “racing bubble” might seem steep to those unfamiliar to this world. But for Frankie Lor and Dennis Yip, the two bubble busters, the money is a serving of chicken nuggets. Both trainers can pay these fines by having a couple of low class winners.
Still, it’s a nice gesture by the Hong Kong Jockey Club to show “alignment” with the government’s self-isolation rules and ensuring that the mantra about how racing is continuing keeps being chanted by the resident choir.
Having said this, there must be an end game and exit plan in sight.
Nothing can go on the way it’s been ducking and weaving and with everyone jumping through hoops and doing cartwheels across the floor hoping for the best.
Tempers are frayed. Families’ wellness levels are on the line. Happiness trumps everything else. And more than many wish to believe are “building ships and boats” whereas others are “building monuments and jotting down notes”.
They’re waiting for the Mighty Quinn to arrive so everybody can finally jump for joy.
As for a jockey’s life, it’s certainly not an easy one. It requires fitness, damn tough work, self discipline, positivity and the mental agility to make split second decisions during a highly charged and highly competitive horse race.
After over two years of jockeys being forced to live in various stages of crippling lockdown modes in Hong Kong, there’s surely come the point when someone is going to say that enough is enough.
Dangling the money carrot has lost its lustre and that guardian angel knows when it’s time to not push one’s luck.
There’s a need for some real empathy and offering sincere Thanks for all those who have been good and obedient little soldiers.
More quotes and corporate press releases from senior racing executives have run their course.
No one cares about more and more empty words from corporate talking heads with no emotional attachment to Hong Kong and without the right credentials.
However, in Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, the Hong Kong Club has a Chief Executive with proven leadership skills and vision.
Having worked with him to create the Hong Kong success story that was the Happy Wednesday brand, he understand the wants and needs for Hong Kong in 2022.
He’s also someone who has the respect of the Hong Kong government, the grassroots community plus the local and international business community.
He no doubt has, or is, thinking everything through. No knee-jerk reactions. He’s way too smart for those.
The horse racing narrative must change. It’s become tedious and meaningless.
There’s a need for a multi dimensional approach to what more the Hong Kong Jockey Club can do for the good people of this wonderful city.
This is desperately needed to offer Hope and show Hong Kong that the light at the end of the tunnel is not another oncoming train.
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