Updated: Sep 14
Listening in to RSN on Monday morning, co-hosting whatever the programme is called, Matt “Unchained” Stewart was tap dancing around what he really wanted to say.
He finally kinda asked his troops whether Hong Kong racing might have lost its image of being seen as “the holy grail” of horse racing.
He had watched the sparse group of masked people at Shatin for opening day of the new racing season from afar- Melbourne- and was not exactly bowled over with what he saw. He wasn’t alone.
Many outside of Hong Kong have described seeing masked people as “weird”. Where they are, they’ve got on with living with Covid.
Us? We rather like the guy in the photo below in the Jungle Jim hand-me-downs who’s nodded off.
Getting back to RSN, on the same programme was a snippet of an interview with Blake Shinn, below, who repeated what’s become his personal Jesus- the mental stress involved in being trapped in the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s “racing bubble “, and, especially, how much it affected someone like him who was single and with no family in the city nor access to anyone outside of racing.
It’s a bleak picture and no matter how one tries to spin it, the truth always wins out: Hong Kong today is what it is, it’s what it never was and it’s taking its toll on everything, most of all, the image of what once was such a vibrant and happy city.
If the government refuses to see this, it must be that deaf, dumb and blind kid who played a mean pinball and was named Tommy.
Though Matt Stewart is correct about what he was trying to say about Hong Kong racing, what’s worrying to those living here is seeing the very heart and soul of Hong Kong being ripped out and replaced by a blanket of hopelessness.
With businesses and everything else in Hong Kong hit hard because more and more of everything else being piled on top of each other to continue with the extremely costly Zero Covid-19 mandate, there is little to no tourism, a brain drain that’s been mainly Singapore’s gain, and with largely a small mediocre talent drip left trying to be what it’s not, the city is in limbo.
Though they no doubt know it, those in the “upper echelons” of the Hong Kong government must be made to see through public forums just how, well, STUPID, Hong Kong is looking to the rest of the world, and how, the longer it fails to rein in STUPID, this animal is here to stay- and mutate.
Enough is enough- and, apparently different sets of rules for different folks depending on “status”, and as reported in the SCMP yesterday, youngish people having been vaccinated and testing positive more than once- don’t help paint a clear picture of where to next.
This is no doubt why such an influential and respected name as property tycoon and pro-Beijing loyalist Peter Woo Kwong-ching, below, applied the blowtorch to the government last week to fasttrack the opening of borders and start the long march of getting Hong Kong back on track.
Sure, all this affects the image of Hong Kong racing, and also, the arts, the retail sector, the hospitality trade etc etc- and without anyone really addressing the untamed elephant in the room- mental health issues.
These problems cannot be solved by any one person or organisation and disparate and personal agendas.
It needs all of Hong Kong who still care about and are committed to the long term future of the city to come together as a community- for maybe the first time ever- and get its sh*t together without the ego ergo nonsense.
The future is Now. It’s not two, three or four years from now when some of those hatching these plans might not even be around.
Not even if one were to wake Nostradamus up can the grand old man predict where the world will be in the next few years, let alone whether little old Hong Kong will not be seen as an irrelevant and discardable curiosity piece.