I was not planning on doing History initially. I came into college with my mind set on Literature and a love for creative writing, until I took a module called Religions of Abraham. As I studied primary sources and decoded their cultural nuances, I felt like an explorer glimpsing into vast lands, entire civilisations; as I became familiar with peoples, their beliefs and the narratives that united them, I felt like a guest in their homes, partaking in their lives. Doing History, to me, is another form of storytelling, of deconstructing a world to build it again. Looking at a Greek inscription in stone, I picture the hand and chisel behind the marks: to read an ancient text is to come face-to-face with a person millennia away.
While I’m especially interested in the Abrahamic religions and the Greco-Roman world, my capstone is about Xinyao, a youth Mandarin singing-songwriting movement in 1980s Singapore, and how it converged with the government’s intentions for the nation while also suggesting an alternative conception of national identity.