Whether by luck or by chance, by misfortune or serendipity, you are reading before you the blog known as Messy Lines: a semi-haphazard collection of thoughts, poems, quotes, drawings, essays and rants by my online persona, known as Mantarui.
At the moment, I am an undergraduate historian in my final year at the National University of Singapore.
Individually, my interests are eclectic, and run the gamut from the whimsical to the dreadfully political, although I try my best to colour outside the lines; to stray beyond the grid and to offer an other opinion. I like to think being contrary and contradictory is a virtue. I like to travel – solo, more often than not, because travelling alone gives you a greater surface area-to-volume ratio for absorption (of perspectives and places).
One of the few groups I will ever tolerate travelling with is CJC ODAC, a group of friends whom I have climbed mountains with for over half a decade now; you will occasionally find stories of them here as well. Climbing mountains and volcanoes in Malaysia and Indonesia (humid and muddy in the former, stark and stony in the latter) is an excellent way to escape the grind and grime of daily life, if only momentarily. Mountain-trekking is also a great place to mine for metaphors – and cultivate a deeper, more independent self-esteem.
Academically and intellectually, I think I operate within the bounds of understandable discourse. I rarely have patience for convoluted, bombastic writing that excludes more than it explains. So, despite (or because) of my privilege(s), I like to listen and re-broadcast the stories and narratives of the underdogs and the silenced. I like to read between the lines and wriggle between the gaps. The elite and the powerful already have their names and narratives plastered everywhere; I want to listen to other stories, because I have studied the dangers of a single story, and exulted in the diversity of different narratives.
Contained within this blog is thus a collection of thoughts and writings, culled and curated from school, but also from experiences and everyday lives. I hope you remain surprised and confused; I hope I escape every pigeonhole you try to cram the genres of my writing into. Come take a walk along these messy lines – I hope you find something which you will like; or better still, something which you won’t. Drop me a line about your disagreement, and I’d love to have a conversation with you!