GETTING OFF THE TWITTER TRAIN…

By Hans Ebert
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It was my last girlfriend who tried to wean me off it- Twitter. Though pointing out that it was taking over my life and, without me even realising it, detonating any chance of trying to make our relationship work, I refused to listen. I was lost to the clutter of 140 words or less. Instead of there being one less bell to answer, it was adding another empty online junkie’s lament dressed and disguised as some bluebird of happiness. Progress has created some dangerous addictions. It might explain much about a world having lost its way. Lost with no direction of home. Refusing to recognise the tell tale signs.

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HAS HORSE RACING ON TWITTER RUN ITS RACE?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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There was a time when terrestrial television station HKTVB Pearl had an animated character named Freddy to tell viewers what to expect the next day.

Why? Who knows? But every day, Freddy would either melt, or his teeth would chatter and to symbolise a drop in temperature, clouds would fall down over Freddy who would squeal that “It’s faaaaaaaaliiiiing”.

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IF THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE, HOW MANY MEDIUMS REALLY WORK FOR HORSE RACING?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Twitter has made everyone think they’re a “writer” though many still don’t know the difference between “they’re”, “their” and “there”, which, one supposes, is no different to many calling themselves “musicians” because they can tap a few keys on their laptop to “create” some sounds.

It’s become a push button world where everything has been reduced to being accepted by those with a minimum attention span as there’s just so much of everything and this voracious appetite to inhale it all in and damned the torpedoes of selectivity and exclusivity.

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OF LOCAL HEROES AND A HONG KONG RACING HALL OF FAME…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“They almost never get the credit they deserve. Never!” Someone with us at the races on Wednesday night at Happy Valley was both happy and frustrated after local trainer Me Tsui, below, had trained his third winner of the night. Tsui, below, went on to train four winners in the eight race card.

Apprentice Jack H.N.Wong, often overlooked when compared to the column inches devoted to the other two apprentices riding in Hong Kong right now, and especially the expatriate riders, rode off with the Jockey Challenge. He also completely out rode Joao Moreira most of the night with a brilliant ride to win aboard Good For You. This season’s Jack H.N.Wong is a new, improved model.

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WHERE EXACTLY IS HORSE RACING HEADING?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It was a challenge and a random exercise to see how much we had changed along with the world around us. A friend asked me to open a Twitter account saying that my old and fairly popular horse racing blog Racingb*tch was back as Racing Buzzfeed, follow a few people and see how I felt and what might happen.

That was at 8am on Sunday. By noon, I had grown bored with it. There were a few followers, I had tweeted a few innocuous messages, and that was the extent to this exercise in futility. It wasn’t just stupid, it brought back memories of those who were continuously lampooned on Racingb*tch- and who are still there and doing the same old walk of life.

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TIME TO LEAD AND NOT TO FOLLOW

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Gawd knows where we went wrong, but we went wrong and many are still going wrong because they really think everything is going alright. Oh, but it’s not.

She is definitely not without her faults, but my daughter is grounded enough to know fact from fiction and has done extremely well for herself in the real world. She’s never yearned for fame, but has been successful with what she has achieved- tangibles and not this time wasting exercise of buying the illusion of fame- through hard work.

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HORSE RACING IN HONG KONG ON A SATURDAY AND THOSE CH CH CH CHANGES

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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It’s strange to think there was a time when Hong Kong only had racing on a Saturday- and only at Happy Valley racecourse.

Night racing at the city track was introduced later and had its surreal moments like the time when local rider Louis Ho simply stopped riding How Good, the 9.5 favourite, when having the race shot to bits. Think he was disqualified for six months. But it were those Saturday afternoon races in the mid Seventies and when Hong Kong was still a British colony that were big days for my family, especially my Aunt and Uncle who had their favourite jockeys and all kinds of conspiracy theories. When having seen local jockeys practice the art of jumping off horses in case they might have actually won a race, of course there were conspiracy theories.

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AND NOW, ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF HORSE RACING AND REAL LEADERSHIP…

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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Perhaps racing writers have realised by now that apart from being pigeonholed with this label, horse racing is a very specialised field. It’s also a very narrow one when it comes to readership. And like newspapers moving almost completely into the online world and hoping to be a subscriber-based product where content is king and competing for readership in a crowded information highway, it means being about diversity. Really diversifying.

Continuing to play a role in horse racing could mean looking at adding more strings to one’s bow. Just as Rock journalism suddenly disappeared after less than a decade, horse racing writers are most definitely needed, but newspaper editors and others will and have become more selective in who they use. And how. Many don’t know because it’s not a personal priority.

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WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE AND WHAT’S AFFECTING RACING IN AUSTRALIA?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“Horse racing in Australia is its own worst enemy”. I’ve been carrying these words with me now for over a week. They keep playing in my head with me thinking when’s all this going to end, where’s it going to crash and burn, when’s Humpty Dumpty going to be an omelette, how did it all become so much of everything, who’s minding the store…

During a recent whistle stop trip to Singapore and then to Sydney for business, I managed to meet up with a longtime friend in racing. He’s given up being in the game, but remains close to some youngsters coming up the ranks who he believes in. More importantly, he understands their need for counselling and mentoring to face what lies ahead. He’s seen it all before- all those one meets on the way up and the sudden lack of a safety net on the way down. As he put it, “That trip to hell is when you’re dancing with the devil because he’s the only company you have.”

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ANYONE ELSE SEARCHING FOR THE INNER LIGHT?

By Hans Ebert
@hanseberthk
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“The more one travels, the less one knows”. George Harrison sang that line on “The Inner Light” about how life flows within you and without you. It was one of those token Harrison songs that had to be included somewhere and ended up as the throwaway B Side to the Beatles’ hit single “Lady Madonna”.

Here was this meditative raga based track with George singing about something very spiritual. I didn’t get it and, probably like most, just ignored it. But as one grows older, the song has taken on a new relevance.

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