There was once an American history professor who I studied under. He served in the Vietnam War. Arguably, this was the ugliest war in the 20th century. (But what do I know?)

Based on recollection and interpretation, he stated that the US should not have gone in or should not have stayed. That conflict lasted around 20 years until 1975. It was simply an unwinnable war. And the military did not or could not say ‘No’.

Fast forward to this year. An expatriate I spoke to told me (in effect) that Singaporeans did not know when to quit.

Harvey Pekar, the deceased but celebrated American comic writer, created the book entitled The Quitter. Reflecting, he stated that staying in the civil service to do mere filing was eventually the right thing for him. He stayed in the role until he retired.

May we all know when to take up tasks that fit our ability. If it is beyond our immediate capacities and we have to take it up, at least we hope to go in with eyes open and seek aid/support from the outset.


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