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Cats in Sacks; or, Lomba Karung

“I, Tuan? Who spoke of death? Was it I? No! I spoke of life only. Only of life. Of a long life for a lonely man!”

They stood with the fire between them, both silent, both aware, each in his own way, of the importance of the passing minutes. Babalatchi’s fatalism gave him only an insignificant relief in his suspense, because no fatalism can kill the thought of the future, the desire of success, the pain of waiting for the disclosure of the immutable decrees of Heaven.

Fatalism is born of the fear of failure, for we all believe that we carry success in our own hands, and we suspect that our hands are weak.

Joseph Conrad – An Outcast of the Islands

Fortune favours those who know what they’re actually doing, and who want to win. This means those who understand that the sack race (lomba karung in Indonesian) is really a getting into a sack race and act accordingly. Barring unfortunate accidents, the first person into their sack and bounding on their way wins.

You’ll likely pick a winner by asking…

  • Who’s paying attention when their name is called?
  • Who’s looking at their sack to determine which end is which before the race begins?
  • Who rehearses by opening and carefully re-folding their sack?
  • Who’s visualising the race? Who is listening and focused? Who’s laughing and joking, indifferent to success? Who’s pretending to be indifferent to success?
  • Who has a sense of urgency? Whose face is set, whose fists are clenched? Who’ll move quickly from the off?
  • Who looks like they’ll keep racing if they fall behind? Who will win from behind if the leader falls?

Out of the bag

Know what game you’re playing. Have an appropriate plan. Rehearse. Pay attention. Start quickly. Be ready for reversals.

Fight to the end.

Accept your fate.

Selamat Hari Merdeka 2022.

See also:

Joseph Conrad on art, writing and reaching your audience
First to the top (more wrapper than race)
Who wins
New axes (play your own game)
Good starts
Struggle
No finish line (1)
World without ends

Other posts on games


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