The word “monopoly” is often used when mentioning the HKJC as it has a monopoly when it comes to accepting wagering on soccer and horse racing.
The HKJC also has a monopoly on content- especially, racing content- brilliant, rich, exclusive content of historic interest to a very wide demographic.
I realized this when writing about legendary Hong Kong trainer Ng Chi-lam, below, who recently passed away and seeing the flurry of “views” and “likes” that appeared so quickly, and when going through everything available on the Club’s Hong Kong Racing Memories micro site.
In an age where content is king and racing clubs are trying desperately to bring new players into the sport, Hong Kong Racing Memories can be part of an ongoing campaign to remind racing fans- in Hong Kong and overseas- of the city’s rich tapestry of history and its relevance to different generations- not only racing fans, but, “the others” because of the human interest stories involved.
From a racing perspective, let’s not lose sight of the fact that today’s leading trainers like Caspar Fownes and Tony Cruz are “Hong Kong boys”.
They went to school here, they grew up here, got married here, became parents here, and knew and worked with many of the greats who once made Hong Kong their home.
In many ways, John Moore is also a “Hong Kong boy”- and another to whom Hong Kong is home.
There’s then Douglas Whyte whose young family is “Hong Kong made” and who speaks openly about the city’s Can Do spirit which saw him win thirteen consecutive Hong Kong Jockey Premierships- surely, one of the great Hong Kong success stories- and not only by racing standards.
Local trainers like Dennis Yip, Manfred “Do Wah Diddy Diddy” Man, Danny Shum and Francis Lui rode in Hong Kong as jockeys against the greats- Michael Kinane, Kieren Fallon, Willie Carson, Steve Cauthen, Gary Stevens, Lester Piggott, Pat Eddery, Brent Thomson, Wayne Harris and many more.
Imagine the stories they can share. Imagine the stories they CANNOT share.
These memories can easily dovetail with the campaign to celebrate the HKJC’s 130th Anniversary later this year- a campaign being launched at a time of great change in Hong Kong- home to those in this city, home to those who have returned home, and always home to many now living elsewhere with memories of this fascinating city.
Today’s Hong Kong with its spiraling rents, movements like Occupy Central, the ongoing problems faced by a leaderless MTR, a Them versus Us mentality between Hong Kong Belongers and the Mainland Chinese, offers the HKJC a huge opportunity to bring Hope to the city along with a sense of pride, inspiration and togetherness plus that Can Do spirit jockey Whyte refers to.
A decade ago, mention the HKJC being the catalyst in making something like this happen, and you’d be laughed away to live in a funny farm and forced to leave the building with Elvis.
After all, the Hong Kong Jockey Club has never been popular- a hark back to the days when Hong Kong was a colony and there was the ROYAL Hong Kong Jockey Club which was looked upon as arrogant and a necessary evil despite the charity angle and that baffling come-on that still exists today:”Racing For Charity”.
Fluffy advertising lines apart, if not for the HKJC, Hong Kong will be a much poorer place than it is- and I seriously doubt 99.9% of the public truly understands nor appreciates this as it’s never been effectively- and credibly- communicated.
Yes, I am a “racing man”, but I am much more a Hong Kong Belonger- a proud one who wishes to be part of positive change and a coming together of talent and people and thoughts and ideas to create a better Hong Kong- an ongoing re-branding and “product enhancing” exercise that won’t happen overnight.
For the HKJC, here’s the opportunity to work with many of the organizations and initiatives it subsidizes TO create this better Hong Kong- young film makers and how they view their home; the people behind MAD- Make A Difference- who are not mad at all, but, instead, inspired to be MAD- and Make A Difference: young talent who can create and produce a Hong Kong musical that is more than another “City Of Broken Promises”.
The HKJC might not have the means nor the people- internally- to create this new visual and musical postcard from Hong Kong, BUT, through its support and hand-picking of those that deserve this support, the Club has the best street-marketing team available- a team that can work by not walking on egg shells, nor being unshackled by red tape, or slowed down by charts and numbers, over-analyzing, over-intellectualizing and, instead, going with THEIR Hong Kong stories.
This is how there will be credibility, relevance and a constant flow of consumer-generated ideas that don’t stay in someone’s corporate In tray or is taken half way and then left on the tracks to be squashed by that runaway train.
This freedom to create without boundaries around one’s imagination is what will attract a brand like the VERY Hong Kong-proud g.o.d. to produce 130 Anniversary merchandising that is uber cool- and not pseudo-cool- to, for example, what I call the very international Happy Wednesday United Colors Of Benetton crowd.
Hopefully, this ongoing campaign will grow through teamwork involving the Hong Kong music and entertainment industries, film directors like Wong kar-wai and Stephen Chao, below, the new entrepreneurs, those like Alan Zeman who were trail blazers, the positive thinkers and all those who know what building blocks are needed to create a better tomorrow.
This 130 Anniversary campaign might not be as easy as 1,2,3 to turn into all the pictures in one’s mind. Nothing is.
But everything is possible because nothing is impossible when one’s heart is in the right place.
For myself and friends, this place is Home- because, as they say, Home Is Where The Heart is.
© Racingb*tch 2014
All Rights Reserved
No part of this website or any of its contents may be reproduced, copied, modified or adapted, without the prior written consent of the author, unless otherwise indicated for stand-alone materials.