President's Corner: Damian Tang


Damian Tang

When quitting is not an option

Many times when some of us are at the top running an association or serving as a Chair leading a committee or working group, we would feel the pressure to perform and get things done. When the going gets tough, it is natural to feel the temptation to quit or even be idle when overwhelmed. But we often know that quitting is not an option. For any leader to quit, it means abandoning the ship, leaving people stranded, lost and sweeping matters under the carpet.

Beside telling ourselves to go on no matter what and riding out the storm, we should always find ways to motivate ourselves and seek help from others. Sometimes it is also wise to have conversations with those who may have similar experiences and learn from them. Do not leave a big issue to yourself. Find support to have it resolved. You never know if there could be someone out there who can help you and give you a second opinion. So before we think of quitting, think of who we might try asking and have the humility to listen and be advised. When the fight is over, acknowledge those who have supported us and ridden out the storm with us.

Running a professional association is a voluntary task and the responsibilities are huge at times. The journey is long and may seem unrewarding in the short term. But we should believe in the cause we work for and why we chose it in the first place.

Everyone has their worth. And any of us who are elected into position have worth people value and believe in. Let them reap the values and benefits from our contributions, hold on to the roles and the responsibilities that were bestowed on us. And deliver on the commitment we have promised.



Damian Tang
President of IFLA Asia Pacific Region (2016-2020)
President of Singapore Institute of Landscape Architects (2009-2015)