Sugar NutmegOct 10, 2020
Janette Suherli on Observing Supernova Remnants and Other Celestial Wonders
Inspired by her grandfather, who followed the stars to navigate the seas and landscape of Bangka, Janette shares the colorful journey of her astrophysics career. She talks to us about black holes, massive stars, supernova explosions, and how reverse culture shock can almost derail you from your career.
Optional: episode to be enjoyed with a plate of pempek.
Janette Suherli is a PhD student at the University of Manitoba, Canada, working with Dr. Samar Safi-Harb in the eXtreme Astrophysics Group. Her doctoral research focuses on utilizing integral field spectroscopy for supernova remnants research in optical wavelength, particularly on Central Compact Objects (CCOs) and Intermediate-Mass Black Holes.
Aside from doing research, she writes for Astrobites and volunteers at the Lockhart Planetarium, Winnipeg. She is a co-organizer for the Open Cultural Astronomy Forum and currently serves as the chair of the Graduate Student Committee at the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA).
Janette completed her Bachelor in Astronomy at Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia and her Master’s in Astronomy at Wesleyan University, U.S.A., where she was also a Fulbright Fellow. She has also conducted research internships at the European Southern Observatory in Chile and the Australian Astronomical Observatory in Australia, in addition to her former position as Assistant Astronomer at the Bosscha Observatory in Indonesia.
Andamar Pradipta on The Science of The Supernatural
Damar talks to us about his research on supernatural phenomena. We discuss different elements and even marketing methods used by dukun in Indonesia. Plus, paranormal sensitivities, indigo people, and Ruth's untapped powers. Everything is magic is Southeast Asia.
Andamar Pradipta obtained his bachelor’s degree in Social Anthropology from Universitas Indonesia. He then continued his studies at Central European University in Hungary, and graduated with an M.A. in Sociology and Social Anthropology in 2016. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan.
His research interests include psychology, marketing, corporate culture, and supernatural phenomena. Due to his anthropological background, he has a strong fascination with qualitative research which he actively works on and develops at the Indonesia International Institute for Life-Sciences, where he also teaches.
Elliott Prasse-Freeman on The Role of Blockchain in Rohingya Lives
Elliott talks to us about the Rohingya political situation amidst dislocation and mass violence, especially after the coup in Myanmar, and how R-Coin is a new initiative helping stateless Rohingya diaspora in Malaysia.
Elliott Prasse-Freeman is a political anthropologist studying social movements, violence, and symbolic culture in Burma. As part of a related ongoing project on the Rohingya genocide, he is exploring novel forms of personhood and conceptions of the political as they are mediated by and generated through new technologies such as blockchain, biometric scanners, and AI.
He received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology at Yale University and his Bachelors and Masters from Harvard University. He has conducted long-term fieldwork in Myanmar, and currently teaches sociology and anthropology at the National University of Singapore. He has a book, titled Rights Refused: Grassroots Activism and State Violence in Myanmar (Stanford University Press) on Burmese subaltern political thought as adduced from an extended ethnography of activism and contentious politics in the country's semi-authoritarian setting.
Emy Ruth Gianan on Digital Disinformation in The Philippines and Southeast Asia
Emy talks to us about disinformation challenges in Southeast Asia and its evolving relationship with democracy, civil society participation, and digital maturity. To be enjoyed with a hearty bowl of Sinigang!
Emy Ruth Gianan is a full-time professor teaching classes on public policy, governance, and development economics at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila. Alongside teaching, she work as Chief of Internal Relations Services of the university’s Communication Management Office to harmonize policies and processes centered on digital communications. She also undertakes research endeavors focused on disinformation trends across Southeast Asia and its impact on democratization; civil society participation; digital communication processes; and the nexus of decentralization and regionalism efforts. Her current research endeavor is focused on comparative disinformation challenges in Southeast Asia and its evolving relationship with democracy and digital transformation. She is also host of the Taglish podcast Extra Notes.
Veronika Kusumaryati and Ernst Karel on Expedition Content
Ernst and Veronika talk to us about their process of composing Expedition Content, the augmented sound piece composed from 37 hours of recordings which document the encounter between members of the Harvard Peabody Expedition, particularly Michael Rockefeller of the Rockefeller family, and the Hubula people of West Papua, at the time Nederlands New Guinea. The piece reflects on visual anthropology, the lives of the Hubula and of Michael, and the ongoing history of colonialism and occupation in West Papua. “Expedition Content” premiered at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival and has been screened at Cinéma du Réel at the Centre Pompidou Paris, the Art of the Real, Lincoln Center New York, and Camden international Film Festival.
Veronika Kusumaryati is a social anthropologist and artist working on the issues of Indigenous politics, conflict and violence, race/racism, and digital media. The geographic focus of her research is Indonesia, primarily West Papua, a self-identifying term referring to Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua, where she has conducted extensive fieldwork since 2012. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology with a secondary field in film and visual studies from Harvard University and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Asian Studies Program at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University during the 2020-2021 academic year. Her writings have been published in journals, such as Comparative Studies in Society and History and Critical Asian Studies. She is an incoming assistant professor in anthropology and international studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison starting in the spring of 2023. www.veronikakusumaryati.wordpress.com
Ernst Karel works with sound, including electroacoustic music, experimental nonfiction sound works for multichannel installation and performance, image-sound collaboration, and postproduction sound for nonfiction vilm, with an emphasis on observational cinema. Lately he works around the practice of actuality/location recording (or 'fields [plural] recording') and composing with those recordings, with recent projects also taking up archival location recordings. Sound projections have been presented at Sonic Acts, Amsterdam; Oboro, Montreal; EMPAC, Troy NY; Arsenal, Berlin; and the 2014 Whitney Biennial. Sound installations in collaboration with Helen Mirra have been exhibited at the Gardner Museum, Boston; Culturgest, Lisbon; KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Audiorama, Stockholm; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge; and in the 2012 Sao Paulo Bienal. Audio-video collaborations include Expedition Content (2020, with Veronika Kusumaryati), Ah humanity! (2015, with Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel) and Single Stream (2014, with Toby Lee and Pawel Wojtasik). CDs of his often collaborative work, including with the electroacoustic duo EKG, have been released on and/OAR, Another Timbre, Cathnor, Gruenrekorder, Locust, Sedimental, and Sshpuma record labels, and a duo with Bhob Rainey is forthcoming on Erstwhile. From 2006 until 2017 he managed the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University, doing postproduction sound for vilms including Sweetgrass, The Iron Ministry, Manakamana, and Leviathan. He has taught audio recording and composition through the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard (through 2021), the Center for Experimental Ethnography at Penn (2019), and the Department of Film & Media at UC Berkeley (2022). www.ek.klingt.org
Frederic Clapp on Finding Home in Vietnam
Ruth and Alexandra often find themselves furious about foreigners coming to the "exotic" islands of Indonesia and using the archipelago as a pretty background for their Instagram photos or YouTube vlogs. With Fred Clapp, they share stories of treading responsibly on foreign lands, deromanticizing distant locales, and finding a home halfway across the world. Plus, feline hierarchies, protesting babi guling, practical forms of censorship in Vietnam, exporting culture, and the constant cycle of imperialism. Maybe make yourself some Mexican food to accompany this episode!
Frederic Clapp is a Vietnam-based game designer and cat enthusiast originally from Mexico City. He is passionate about interactive narratives and how game systems provide a good model for understanding the systems governing our world. His passion for designing games and interactive narratives took him to Ho Chi Minh City, where he has been living for the last 5 years. There, he spends his time trying new food and writing about cats he meets in his travels around Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Alexandra is in CDMX shooting a film and Ruth is off to Bali to reunite with her boyfriend. We recorded this episode last month to reflect on borders, passports, visas, Indonesian cartels, “forbidden areas” and the Forbidden Fruit. Is this the episode in which we get cancelled? As always, let’s feast and find out.
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Pailin Wedel on Death, Documentary Filmmaking, and Radical Hope
Pailin Wedel talks to us about her Emmy-winning, Netflix-acquired film, Hope Frozen, and her work with Al Jazeera across Southeast Asia. We discuss death, the afterlife, the ecosystem of documentary filmmaking and journalistic work in Southeast Asia, and the power of radical hope.
Pailin Wedel is a journalist and filmmaker best known for directing and producing the documentary Hope Frozen, which started streaming on Netflix in 2020, and is first Thai film to win an International Emmy. It screened at more than twenty festivals worldwide and won Best International Feature at HotDocs in Toronto and Best Documentary Feature at the San Antonio Independent Film Festival, among many other awards.
Other than her documentary work, she regularly reports/directs reportage films for Al Jazeera English’s current affairs program 101 East, including a documentary series on Thailand's medical tourism industry and the drug trade that passes through Myanmar.
Pailin grew up in Asia and began her career in 2004 as a photojournalist for an American newspaper. She quickly fell in love with video narratives and taught herself how to film video. In her spare time, Pailin teaches short courses on video and mobile journalism. Previously, she worked for multiple publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, and Associated Press.
With her husband, she also founded 2050 Productions, a Bangkok-based documentary team, in 2016.
Thi My Lien Nguyen on Food for the Dead & Transforming Family Rituals into Communal Feasts
Thi My Lien Nguyen talks to us about Viet-Lao identity, the Vietnamese diaspora in Switzerland versus France, Germany, and the U.S., the types of dishes she cooks to honor the dead, working with folklore and foodways, and starting Mili's Supper Club. Plus, Swiss cheese, chocolate cake, the different funeral processions in Indonesia, and more!
Thi My Lien Nguyen is a Swiss-Vietnamese lens-based artist, supper club host, and food artist working and located in Winterthur, Switzerland. Her image-making practice, often using ethnographic methods, are focused on issues of identity, migration, diasporas and the communities. She questions mechanisms dynamics and processes within families and trans-cultural communities. Her interest lies between the fine line of documentary and photographic art. She focused her work on issues of identity, migration, diasporas, and the communities. Her projects include 'Mời, mời,' in which she interprets the diverse experiences of secondas and secondos, and 'Hiếu thảo – With love and respect,' in which she connects the past & present of navigating and negotiating Vietnamese heritage and Swiss culture with the maternal lineage of her family.
Sim Chi Yin on Artistic Interventions to Reshape Public Memory
Sim Chi Yin walks us through her ongoing project "One Day We'll Remember": uncovering family secrets, visiting ancestral villages, collecting artefacts and archival materials, and making counter archives with family members and locals from her grandfather's neighborhood in Gaoshang after he was deported from British Malaya for his anti-colonial resistance against the British occupying forces.
She raises major topics such as what are the things we choose to remember and things we choose to forget in relation to trauma and malu, and the different ways wars have been documented in Southeast Asia. She also talks to us about her artistic drive and artistic direction.
*In our first in-person episode, Alexandra had a chance to visit and interview Chiyin at her studio in Brooklyn, New York.
Sim Chi Yin is an artist from Singapore, currently based between Brooklyn and Berlin. For the first decade of her multi-faceted career, she was a print journalist, foreign correspondent, and photographer. She was commissioned as the Nobel Peace Prize photographer in 2017 to make work about its winner, the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
After quitting her job as foreign correspondent, she became an independent visual practitioner. She combines rigorous research with intimate storytelling, she pursues self-directed projects in Asia. Her work explores history, memory, and migration and its consequences. In particular, she dove into a lesser-known part of her own family history in "One Day We'll Understand," a project that revolves around her grandfather, Shen Huansheng, who was a left-wing journalist involved in the anti-colonial resistance movement in British Malaya. Through her careful documentation, in both film and photography, Sim considers the processes of remembrance and forgetting as well as the fragility of the notion of truth.
Her work has been exhibited in the Istanbul Biennale (2017), at the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, the Annenberg Space For Photography in Los Angeles, Gyeonggi Museum of Modern Art in South Korea, and other galleries and institutions in Europe, the United States and Asia. Her film and multimedia work have also been screened at Les rencontres d’Arles and Visa pour l'Image festivals in France, and the Singapore International Film Festival. She has worked on assignments for global publications, such as The New York Times Magazine, Time Magazine, National Geographic, The New Yorker and Harper's Bazaar.
Chi Yin won the Chris Hondros Fund award in 2018. A finalist for the 2013 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography, she was an inaugural Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice fellow in 2010 in New York. She is now a tutor and mentor on the fellowship. In 2014, she was Her World Magazine's "Young Woman Achiever of the Year".
Chi Yin read history at the London School of Economics and Political Science for her first two degrees, and was a staff journalist and foreign correspondent for a decade before quitting to become an independent visual practitioner in 2011.
Xingyun Shen on Performance, Greenwashing, and the Meaning of “Sustainability” in Fashion
We talk about protest-dressing, dopamine-dressing, performance-dressing, all the subtle and unsubtle ways of sales associates, and more!
Xingyun is a freelance researcher and writer who advocates for a more humane fashion system through her work. She studied Fashion Sustainability and Digital Fashion Management at the London College of Fashion and is now the country coordinator for Fashion Revolution Singapore. Seeking to address the importance of intersectionality when analysing fashion sustainability, she runs @noordinaryprotest as a platform to call for a shift in mindset. Her favourite time of the day is 5pm, and her go-to fashion activity is swapping.
Juliette Yu-Ming Lizeray on Connecting the Thread Between Different Dialogues
We talk to Juliette Yu-Ming Lizeray about her adventures with the Cariocas of Brazil, making films with tsunami survivors in Aceh, working with repatriated migrants in Buenos Aires, syncretism between Afro-Cuban religions and Taoism & Buddhism in Cuba, and interviewing the Southeast Asian restauranteurs of New York City. Plus, surprising similarities that Juliette found between Rio de Janeiro and Singapore, Ruth’s take on “food wars” in Southeast Asia, and a little story about the time Barack Obama’s mother first came to Indonesia, as told by Hadipurnomo to Alexandra!
What is “carne de rã” codeword for?
Why is a cake that has no carrots called “carrot cake”?
What does it mean to be a multipotentialite in today’s world?
In classic Sugar Nutmeg style, let’s feast and find out!
Juliette Yu-Ming Lizeray is an anthropologist, writer, filmmaker, and visual artist based in Singapore and New York City. She obtained an MSc in Anthropology and Development from the London School of Economics, and a BA in Cultural Anthropology from Tufts University.
She conducted anthropological field research among tsunami survivors in Aceh, Central American communities in Boston, the Chinese diaspora in Cuba, indigenous communities in Brazil, and South American migrants in the informal settlements of Buenos Aires. More recently, she has carried out research on music and intercultural theatre in Singapore.
Juliette also works as a freelance writer and has published exclusive stories about Singapore’s doomsday preppers, furries, buskers and sneakerheads, as well as on ghost-hunting, sustainable urban farming, and the oldest Teochew opera troupe in Singapore.
Her first book, The Human Spirit Can Overcome Tragedy, is about Acehnese tsunami survivors. Her ethnography of the Central American Solidarity Movement and grassroots organising was published by the Tufts University Anthropology department.
As a visual artist, she has received several international awards for her documentary and experimental films. Her work has screened at festivals in over 45 countries, including États Généraux du Film Documentaire (France), the Anthology Film Archives (USA), Cine Esquema Novo (Brazil), and Women in Film and TV International Showcase (USA), among others.
Juliette’s video art and installations have shown at galleries in Rio de Janeiro and New York City. Bringing together her love of anthropology, storytelling and the moving image, she worked as a filmmaking instructor at the Fluminense Federal University in Rio de Janeiro, traveling across Brazil to empower members of indigenous communities to tell their stories through documentary films.
The program of films she curated, “Dialogues with the Unseen: Short Films from Southeast Asia” is currently playing at the Museum of Moving Image: www.movingimage.us/event/dialogues-with-the-unseen-short-films-from-southeast-asia
Norman Erikson Pasaribu & Tiffany Tsao on Almosts, Discontinued Futures, and the Misconception about “Magical Realism”
Special Holiday Episode! Coinciding with the release of "Happy Stories, Mostly", we talk to Norman Erikson Pasaribu and Tiffany Tsao about their work as translators of each others work and as individual writers themselves. Between Sydney, Bekasi, Bogor and New York, we discuss cultural untranslatability, creating new languages, building new memories through language, and why it’s difficult for readers to appreciate Indonesian literature. Plus, K-Dramas, fanfics, sinetron, past-less and futureless characters, and whether Dia, Ia, and Nya will be extinct in the future. Whether it's turkey, sate, noodles, nastar, or roll cake, may this Two-Hour Holiday Special accompany your holiday cooking, prep and feast!
Norman Erikson Pasaribu is a writer, translator, and editor. His first short story collection Hanya Kamu yang Tahu Berapa Lama Lagi Aku Harus Menunggu (Only You Know How Much Longer I Should Wait) was shortlisted for the 2014 Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Prose. His debut poetry collection Sergius Mencari Bacchus (Sergius Seeks Bacchus) won the 2015 Jakarta Arts Council Poetry Competition, was shortlisted for the 2016 Khatulistiwa Literary Award for Poetry, and was one of the best poetry collections of that year by Tempo Magazine. He was also awarded the Young Author Award from the Southeast Asia Literary Council and was chosen as Writer in Residence in Vietnam by the Indonesian National Book Committee and Ministry of Education and Culture. He draws on his experiences queer writer of Batak descent and Christian background. In his work, he plays with alternative gospel, speculative fiction, loneliness, and happiness…mostly.
Tiffany Tsao is a writer and literary translator. She is the author of The Oddfits trilogy and The Majesties (originally published in Australia as Under Your Wings). Her translations from Indonesian to English include Dee Lestari’s novel Paper Boats, Laksmi Pamuntjak’s The Birdwoman’s Palate, and Norman Erikson Pasaribu’s poetry collections Sergius Seeks Bacchus and Happy Stories Mostly. Her translations of Norman’s poetry have won the English PEN Presents and English PEN Translates awards. Born in the United States and of Chinese-Indonesian descent, she spent her formative years in Singapore (8 years) and Indonesia (6 years). She has a B.A. in English literature from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in English literature from UC-Berkeley. She now lives in Sydney, Australia with her spouse and two children.
Nay Saysourinho on Folktales, Fables, Fairy Tales, and the Power of "Passivity"
Nay Saysourinho talks to us about heterotopia, folktales and fairy tales, passive resistance and "passive" choices, motherhood, domesticity, and how she learned to find her voice as a writer from listening to her aunties gossip at home. Plus, the impact of the French language, the bond of la Francophonie, the nonchalance of Laotians, and all the things that get lost in translation....
Nay Saysourinho is a writer, literary critic and visual artist. She was the first recipient of the Adina Talve-Goodman Fellowship from One Story Magazine, and has received fellowships and scholarships from Kundiman, The Writers Grotto, The Mendocino Coast Writers Conference and Tin House. She was a Rona Jaffe Fellow at MacDowell in 2020 and is a Berkeley Fellow at Yale. Her writing was a recent prize winner at the Tucson Literary Awards, and has been published or is forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Ploughshares Blog, Khôra, Fairy Tale Review, and elsewhere. She also reads for Pank Magazine.
The eldest daughter of Lao refugees, she was born and raised in Québec and spent several years in Saskatchewan. Influenced by the folklore of her home province, the oral history of her diaspora, and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, her multidisciplinary work explores ways by which narratives are gathered, transmitted, and deciphered. She is currently completing her first novel, a modern fairy tale set in Southeast Asia, a short story collection about extinct species, and a series of fables using Lao weaving symbology. In June 2021, she joined an art research circle through the Nordic Summer University.
Nurdiyansah Dalidjo on Food as Proof of Hybridity, Resistance, and Resilience
Nurdiyansah tells us about his trips across Indonesia to explore how spices from the region hold a multitude of stories that transcend the epochal eras: Dutch colonization, Japanese occupation, the national revolution era, New Order era, Reformasi, and the new digital age. The aroma and flavor of traditional dishes and culinary delights offered him personal and political reflections on the hybridity of identity and the convoluted meaning of "home." What does it really mean to be "Indonesian"? What are all the influences that shaped "Indonesian" cuisine? Is there really a pure "Indonesian" dish? How was pempek related to a nationwide massacre? Plus, a peek into "problems" in Alexandra's life, digital nomads, traditional textiles, and queer culture in Indonesia.
Nurdiyansah Dalidjo is an interdisciplinary writer, researcher, and activist who seeks to memorialize the role of spices as the ingredients that fueled the revolution in Indonesia. He started his career as a journalist at Yayasan Jurnal Perempuan and has a master’s degree in tourism through Program Beasiswa Unggulan, a scholarship program from the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture. Since graduating, he has gained over 10 years of experience in Development issues with a focus on ethical and sustainable tourism, indigenous issues, and social justice.
Nurdiyansah is the founder of the tourism portal JejakWisata.com and co-initiator of the Kain Kita project, a collective independent movement that shares cultural information and stories of traditional fabrics and indigenous textiles known as kain in Indonesia. Previously, he was the research and publications manager at Perkumpulan SKALA, a non-profit organisation with a journalist membership base and a focus on environmental sustainability. He led SKALA’s research teams in investigating reports on Indonesia’s forest fires and haze disasters in 2015; on local wisdom held by indigenous peoples and related to disaster risk reduction in Indonesia; and about wildlife trafficking in Indonesia.
His writings have been published on The Jakarta Post, Overland, mata jendala, Magdalene.co, Jurnal Perempuan, Tourism Watch Indonesia, Jurnal Wastra, Maximillian, Women’s Media Center (WMC) FBOMB , and many others. In 2015, Nurdiyansah released his first travel writing book, Porn(O) Tour (Metagraf, 2015) in which he campaigns for the ethical and responsible tourism issues in a popular way. He is currently based in Jakarta and spends his time exploring colonial histories through food and textile in Indonesia.
Daniel Lie on Family, Heritage, and the Myth of Origin
Brazilian-Indonesian artist Daniel Lie talks to us about the commonalities and distinctiveness between Brazil and Indonesia, two countries that share latitude lines, equatorial climate, lush rainforests enduring rampant deforestation, emerging market economies, class systems, and a long history of US-backed authoritarian regimes.
We discuss the ideas explored in Daniel's trilingual project Toko Buku Liong, titled after their grandparent's successful comic book store in Semarang: coloniality of power, retracing migration routes, reconnecting with ancient roots, acquiring and embodying new languages, the myth of origin, and the perception of time.
They share their family story, their migration journey, and the sociopolitical forces behind their grandparents' migration from Semarang to Sao Paulo even though the comic book they created, called Wiro Anak Rimba, was a major canon in the Indonesian cultural movement during nationalization time.
This might sound like a long podcast but it's all juicy! And we hope you have some good food to accompany you while you listen to this...
Daniel Lie is a Brazilian-Indonesian trans artist born in São Paulo. Using "time" as a starting point for their art practice, Daniel's research looks into breaking the binary and questioning the tension between science and religion, ancestry and present, life and death. Through installations and hybrid languages, their work explores the concept of time, ephemerality and presence by using organic elements that change throughout their lifespan, such as decaying matter, growing plants, fungi, minerals, and the body.
They have exhibited work in Brazil and abroad in England, Hungary, Indonesia, Austria, Germany and Chile, including at the esteemed Casa Triângulo and the Jupiter Artland. Their work have
been featured in Frieze Magazine, The Guardian and Wallpaper.
Ragil Huda on Queer Migration Trajectories and Bridging Academia and Activism
Ragil Huda talks to us about his unconventional journey: growing up in a small village in South Sumatra, working with the transgender community in Yogyakarta, attending Islamic boarding schools in both Java and Sumatra, finding the right support system in Penang, his current work as an academic-activist, methods of knowledge production, community building, grassroots organizing, and how he stays motivated amid everything he does. Plus, Raminten, CIA exploits, and the burden of social media influencers. You'll want some thick, teeming, hot sop kambing while you listen to this.
Ragil Huda is the Co-Founder of QTIBIPOC Hamburg, Program Curator & Community Organizer for 'Queer' Asia in Berlin, and a member of Soydivision, for which he is co-curating the upcoming KAUM Festival. He is also currently finishing his graduate studies at the Asien-Afrika Institut, Universität Hamburg. His community building and grassroots organizing centers on queerness, intersectionality, and the social-political realities of marginalized people through various methodologies and creative activism.
Sarnt Utamachote on the Diaspora ↔ War ↔ Tourism Complex
*Note: At 24:00, what Sarnt meant here is a contemporary ethnic segregation amongst Southeast Asians in middle-class milieus, which happens less in the Berlin environment, in comparison to Bangkok. Historically, however, in West/East Germany there had been huge racial segregation imposed by both states, for example, between migrant "contract" workers who weren't allowed to live or interact with regular citizens through out the 1970/80s — another complex topic of another in-depth conversation.
Sarnt Utamachote talks to us about postcoloniality, migrant movements and migrant spaces, internationalism, forms of survival for artists and queer and queer artists, the Diaspora ↔ War ↔ Tourism Complex, and how access to language affects access to archival research. Plus some K-pop, Sundance, Bangkok art scene, and the Berlin club scene.
Sarnt Utamachote is a queer filmmaker, photographer and curator. He is interested in deconstructing the “surfaces”, what rendered the “humans” behind invisible, by highlighting/curating the fragments; the humane subtleties often overlooked in everyday life - possible sources of social dignity and subject positions.
He studied Industrial Design at Chulalongkorn University, and Cinema Studies and Literature Studies at the Freie Universität of Berlin. He co-founded collective un.thai.tled (of Thai-German diasporic critical creatives), through which he curates critical cultural exhibitions. His last project was the exhibition “Beyond the Kitchen: Stories of Thai Park”, where he curated and researched the archive of Thai migration in Berlin with Bezirksmuseum Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. The collective also holds film screenings, including the annual un.thai.tled Film Festival Berlin.
He researches and collects the archive of Thai migrations and movements in Berlin/Germany, in an attempt to redefine how migrant spaces and micro-histories are relevant to the postcolonial urban discourses. He was one of the selected participants of the Young Curators Workshop for 11th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art 2020, organized by Pip Day.
As a film producer/director/ editor, Sarnt utilizes cinema as a means for social engagement and an exercise of creative freedom beyond social conditional realities. His video installation “I Am Not Your Mother” was commissioned and exhibited at International Rotterdam Film Festival 2020 and nominated for “R.D. Pestonji Award” for best Thai short film at Thai Short Film and Video Festival Bangkok 2020. He is the 2020 recipient of Xposed Short Film Fund, granted by Xposed Queer Film Festival Berlin. His music video for Coco Elane's 'Deep Talk' was nominated for a Bucharest Film Award.
Cynthia Dewi Oka on Migration, Imagination and the Right to Memory
Born in Denpasar, Cynthia Dewi Oka grew up as an ethnic minority and religious minority in Bali and Java. These experiences pushed her family to migrate to Vancouver, Canada, where Cynthia faced a whole other beast of diasporic experiences. Now a poet with three Pushcart Prize nominations, she lives in Philadelphia, where she partnered with Asian Arts Initiative to offer Sanctuary: A Migrant Poetry Workshop for Philly-based immigrant poets. Cynthia shares with us her journey across many borders, working as an organizer, a poet, a teacher, and a mother. We talk about martabak, motherhood, medok accents, imagination, imperialism, and immigration.
Cynthia Dewi Oka is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and author Salvage and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water. She is also a recipient of the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award; the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize; the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor’s Prize in Poetry; the Amy Clampitt Residency (2021-2022); and scholarships from Voices of Our Nations (VONA) and Vermont Studio Center. She has performed her poetry in various venues across the US and internationally, including at The New School, The Nuyorican, Poet’s House, the Langston Hughes House, Nick Virgilio Writer’s House, Noyes Art Garage, Woman Made Gallery, the Institute of Contemporary Art Philadelphia, the Philly Pigeon, the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, Busboys and Poets, Writers Resist Philadelphia, The Laura Flanders Show, Split This Rock Poetry Festival, Hobart Festival of Women Writers, Festival Internacional de Poesia de la Habana, and the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. She is a contributor to ESPN’s The Undefeated the anthologies Soul Sister Revue: A Poetry Compilation (Jamii Publishing, 2019) as well as other anthologies.
Cynthia has been a poetry mentor for The Speakeasy Project, taught Foundations of Poetry for the Blue Stoop, and served as a guest poet in universities across the United States. In 2018, she visited Widener University as a featured poet in the English and Creative Writing Departments’ Distinguished Writers Series. As a Dodge Poet, she has visited and worked with young poets in high schools through mini-festivals across New Jersey. She has also facilitated poetry workshops for organizations and initiatives such as Community Building Art Works, FreeWrite Prison Writing Group, Women Writers in Bloom, Women’s Mobile Museum, and Training for Change.
Mitzi Jonelle Tan on the Ethics and Economics of Climate Change in the Philippines
In the most dangerous part of the world for activists, Mitzi Jonelle Tan continues to mobilize and organize movements for climate justice. She chairs the Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP) and works with indigenous leaders in most affected areas.
Mitzi talks to us about Duterte's infamous anti-terror bill and war of drugs, the right to freedom of speech and the human rights crisis in the Philippines, the dependency of the country's economy on tourism and export of their natural resources, the interconnectedness of public policy, economics, education and climate change, as well as the feasibility of a sustainable lifestyle in the Philippines.
Vincent Bevins on The Jakarta Method Across the World
In his first interview with a Southeast Asian podcast since the launch of his book, Vincent Bevins answers questions about the topics in "The Jakarta Method," which he wrote after extensive research and interviews with survivors throughout Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the U.S. We talk about everything from specific tactics & operations in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brazil, and Chile, to why narratives around these events have been so skewed, to the shrinking internationalist exchange between post-colonial countries, to developing a palate for real spicy food.
The Jakarta Method
The hidden story of the wanton slaughter — in Indonesia, Latin America, and around the world — backed by the United States.
In 1965, the U.S. government helped the Indonesian military kill approximately one million innocent civilians. This was one of the most important turning points of the twentieth century, eliminating the largest communist party outside China and the Soviet Union and inspiring copycat terror programs in faraway countries like Brazil and Chile. But these events remain widely overlooked, precisely because the CIA’s secret interventions were so successful.
In this bold and comprehensive new history, Vincent Bevins builds on his incisive reporting for the Washington Post, using recently declassified documents, archival research and eye-witness testimony collected across twelve countries to reveal a shocking legacy that spans the globe. For decades, it’s been believed that parts of the developing world passed peacefully into the U.S.-led capitalist system. The Jakarta Method demonstrates that the brutal extermination of unarmed leftists was a fundamental part of Washington’s final triumph in the Cold War.
Vincent Bevins is a journalist and the author of The Jakarta Method: Washington's Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder That Shaped Our World (Hachette). Previously, he covered the UK for the Financial Times, Brazil for The Los Angeles Times, and Southeast Asia for The Washington Post. His articles can be found on his website.
Andreas Harsono on the Complexities and Intricacies of Indonesia's Multi-Ethnic, -Religious, and -Cultural Makeup
A travelogue exploring the dynamics of ethnic and religious tension throughout the many islands in the Indonesian archipelago, "Race, Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia" is a book by Andreas Harsono that summarizes the reality of Indonesia. He talks to us about why this country is so complex to comprehend and so obscure to the rest of the world, despite being the 4th most populous country and one of the top economies in the world.
Andreas Harsono is an international human rights activist, journalist, and book author. He has covered Indonesia for Human Rights Watch since 2008. Before joining Human Rights Watch, he helped found the Jakarta-based Institute for the Studies on Free Flow of Information in 1995, and in 2003 he helped create the Pantau Foundation, a journalist training organization also based in Jakarta. A staunch backer of the free press, Harsono also helped establish Jakarta’s Alliance of Independent Journalists in 1994 and Bangkok’s South East Asia Press Alliance in 1998. In 1999-2000, he was recipient of the Nieman Fellowship at Harvard University. He is a member of the International Consortium for Investigative Journalists (Washington, DC).
Harsono began his career as a reporter for the Bangkok-based Nation and the Kuala Lumpur-based Star newspapers. In Indonesian, his published books in Indonesian include Jurnalisme Sastrawi: Antologi Liputan Mendalam dan Memikat (with Budi Setiyono) and “Agama” Saya Adalah Jurnalisme. In English, his newest book Race, Islam and Power: Ethnic and Religious Violence in Post-Suharto Indonesia is available for purchase.
Maryam Lee on Malaysian Identity and Spirituality in the Nusantara
Most people from Nusantara know the competition between Indonesia and Malaysia, but how many know how this competition even came to be? Maryam Lee breaks it down for us in this episode! With her wisdom, she unpacks the complexities of ethnicity and religion in Malaysian national identity, how political structures today are inherited from colonial ways, and the many layers of liberalism. Plus, we talk ghost stories, folk tales, and spiritual healing.
Maryam Lee is a program manager at various non-profit organisations. She looks at political and economic policies that affect people’s lives, from a historical and cultural standpoint, particuparly providing a decolonial approach to any subject matter. Currently, she is developing conversations around technology and society. She is the author of “Unveiling Choice” (2019), a multi-disciplinary scholar, community organiser, and all-around curious being.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abdul Samad Haidari on Seeking Refuge in Indonesia
Abdul Samad Haidari is a Hazara-Afghan journalist turned refugee poet, currently in Indonesia waiting for resettlement. Besides volunteering as a humanitarian-aid worker and teacher, Abdul is the author of the poetry collection “The Red Ribbon,” which is the 3rd best-selling book in Indonesia.
Abdul talks to us about his background, his family, his book, his activities with the refugee community as well as the literary circles in Indonesia, coping with trauma, religion and censorship in Indonesia versus Afghanistan, and his views on life in Indonesia as a refugee.
Abdul fled his home country at the age of seven and grew up wandering in Pakistan and Iran as a child refugee, and was separated from his family for the majority of his childhood. For two years, at the age of eight and nine, he was forced into child labour in the construction industry in Iran. In contrast, Pakistan offered refugees like him the opportunity to study and work. This education and work experience culminated in Abdul teaching computer studies and English language courses at the Intel Computer Center and Pak Oxford Professionals.
After the collapse of the Taliban government, Abdul returned to Afghanistan thinking that the security situation had improved, and that he could take part in the reconstruction of his war-torn country. With this in mind, Abdul served as a freelance journalist and humanitarian aid-worker in areas of the country that remained dangerous to civilians because of the influence of terrorist groups. Abdul served with the Norwegian refugee council (NRC), ActionAid Afghanistan, Daily Outlook Afghanistan group of newspapers, and The Daily Afghanistan Express.
As a freelance journalist, Abdul wrote articles and editorials about on-the-ground realities, which were then circulated widely. These had a particular focus on women and children’s rights, corruption, transparency and accountability in government, warlords and terrorist groups’ actions and the systematic persecution of minority groups in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Abdul was invited to Ubud Writers & Readers Festival in 2019. He attended several literary festivals in Jakarta and spoke in various human rights panel discussions with the UNHCR, IOM, and in other refugee-focused discussion groups. He is currently working on his PTSD book and has a few books of poetry, ready for editing to be published.
Abdul can be reached at: email@example.com
Ruth Ogetay on West Papua and the Effects of Historical Negationism (Bilingual Episode)
In this special bilingual episode, Ruth Ogetay gets candid about the history of West Papua, the current plight of Papuans and other ethnic minorities in Indonesia, multilateral relations with other countries, as well as how and why a series of events involving transnational corporate deals led to the current situation concerning West Papua.
Originally from Paniai, Ruth Ogetay attended university in Yogyakarta, then moved to the capital city to work as a nurse in a major Jakarta hospital, and is currently at Pantau Foundation, focusing specifically on political prisoners.
Eugenio "Ego" Lemos on Timor Lorosa'e and Legacies of Occupation Seen Through Food Systems
Eugenio "Ego" Lemos talks to us about permaculture practices, legacies of occupation, reconciliation and resilience, the dilemma of post-conflict countries, common problems with aid and charity, Indonesian influence versus Australian presence in Timor, East Timor then versus West Papua now, ricenization as a form of cultural destruction, and how sociopolitical events at large affect personal lives on the micro scale through food during the Portuguese colonization, Indonesian occupation and in present day.
Ego Lemos is the founder of the Sustainable Agriculture Network and Organic Agriculture Movement in Timor-Leste. He is also the Founder of Permaculture Timor-Leste (Permatil), as well as the founder-counselor of the PermaScout and Perma-Youth movements.
He currently serves as the Executive Director of Permatil. Previously, he was the National Adviser for the Ministry of Education of Timor-Leste. He is also a lecturer in Sustainable Agriculture and Public Arts & Culture at the University of Timor-Leste. In 2019, Ego was selected by Earth Company as 1 of 5 Impact Hero finalists.
As a singer-songwriter, Ego sings and writes original music in his native tongue, Tetun. His song "Balibo" (featured in the 2009 film Balibo) was awarded Best Original Song at the 2009 Screen Music Awards and the 2009 APRA Award for best song in a film.
Ego also co-authored ‘Permaculture Gardens for Kids’, as well as both editions of the Tropical Permaculture Guidebook. He is sole author of the ‘Training Manual for Agro-biodiversity in Timor-Leste (GIZ-AMBERO) and the Arts and Culture section of the National Curriculum for Basic Education Grad 1 – 6 (Ministry of Education).
Silong Chhun on Cambodia and How Distance Brings Clarity & Courage
Silong Chuun talks to us about how distance brings clarity and awareness, reclaiming narratives through his clothing brand "Red Scarf Revolution", creative ways to spark conversations and recontextualize history, parallels between the communist regime in Cambodia then and the capitalist administration in the US today, memoranda of understanding for Cambodian, Lao, and Vietnamese refugees, colonialism, imperialism, displacement, community, and how Southeast Asian immigrants struggle, hustle, shine, and thrive.
Silong Chhun was born in Cambodia at the end of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979. He and his family arrived to the U.S. as refugees under the 1980 Refugee Resettlement Act. He discovered his love for music as a kid and set a path to pursue a career in the music industry which lead him to where he today as an "artist". Disciplined in multimedia, he has worked on various projects ranging from graphic design, photography, music production, and videography.
In 2013, Silong launched Red Scarf Revolution. With its mission to be more than just another clothing label, Red Scarf Revolution gives voice to the once silenced art, culture, and language. Its most important purpose is memorializing the darkest tragedy in the history of Cambodia with designs that represent the resiliency of the Cambodian people.
In 2017, he curated and debut his first-ever exhibit called "Scars and Stripes" which centered on refugee trauma, diaspora, U.S. resettlement, and deportations during the post-Khmer Rouge era. The exhibition achieved critical acclaim from the City of Tacoma. With the momentum of "Scars and Stripes," Tacoma officially proclaimed April 17th, 2017 as Cambodian Genocide Memorial Day. As one of the organizers, Silong able to collaborate with national organizations such as the National Cambodian Heritage Museum (NCHM) for the 1st National Day of Remembrance on April 17th, 2017, which marked the anniversary of the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia.
Today, he regularly advocate with the Cambodian community members who are targeted by I.C.E. with orders of removal. The Khmer Anti-Deportation Advocacy Group of Washington (KhAAG (cage) for short) assists, supports and guides affected community members with their family on strategies on how to navigate the complicated state and federal immigration system: Cambodian Refugees Face Increase Deportations.
Silong is currently the Digital Communications Manager at Pacific Lutheran University, former Communications Associate at Tacoma Community House, and serve as the Board Secretary on the Metro Marks Arts & Heritage Advisory Council.
Yu Yu Myint Than on the Dynamics of Power: Camera, Conflict, Collaboration, and Creating Amid Censorship in Myanmar
Burmese photographer Yu Yu Myint Than talks to us about education before the Saffron Revolution, Burmanization, the conflict in Shan state, dynamics between ethnic minorities, between the camera and the captured, how artists in Myanmar deal with censorship, the ethical dilemmas she faced as a documentary photographer, transnational collaborations, and how the personal is political.
Yu Yu Myint Than is Myanmar photographer based in Yangon. Previously a staff photographer at The Myanmar Times, she now focuses on personal photo documentaries. Yu Yu manages Myanmar Deitta, a non-profit organisation which develops resources for photographers and filmmakers in Myanmar, and is one of the founding members of Thuma women’s photography collective. A 2017 Magnum Fellow, Yu Yu has also won several international scholarships and exhibited her work across the globe. She is a published photographer and is keenly interested in photobook-making as another layer of story-telling besides taking photographs. She has been working on personal stories looking at memories as well as human-rights related issues.
ယုယုမြင့်သန်းသည် ရန်ကုန်အခြေစိုက် မြန်မာဓါတ်ပုံဆရာမတစ်ဦးဖြစ်သည်။မြန်မာ
တိုင်းမ်စ်သတင်းစာတိုုက်တွင် ဓါတ်ပုံဆရာအဖြစ် လုပ်ကိုင်ခဲ့ပြီးယခုုအခါတွင် သူမ ကိုယ်ပိုင်ပုဂ္ဂလိကဆိုင်ရာ
မှတ်တမ်းဓါတ်ပုံစီးရီးများကို အာရုံစိုက်ရိုက်ကူးနေ ပြီးတစ်ဘက်တလမ်းမှလည်း
အကျိုးအမြတ်မယူအဖွဲ့အစည်းတစ်ခု ဖြစ်သည့် မြန်မာဒိဌတွင် လုပ်ကိုင်လျက်ရှိပါသည်။ ထို့အပြင်သူမသည်
မြန်မာအမျိုးသမီး ဓါတ်ပုုံဆရာများစုပေါင်းဖွဲ့စည်းထားသော သူမအဖွဲ့၏ထူထောင်သူများမှတစ်ဦး ဖြစ်သည်။
ယုယုသည် ဓါတ်ပုံပညာရပ်ဆိုင်ရပ် နိုင်ငံတကာပညာသင်ဆုများရရှိခဲ့ပီး ၂၀၁၇ ခုနှစ်တွင် Magnum
Foundation မှစီစဉ်သည့် Photography and Scial Justice Programme ၏ Fellow အဖြစ်
ရွေးချယ်တက်ရောက်ခွင့် ရခဲ့သည်။သူမလက်ရာများကိုနိုင်ငံတကာနှင့် မြန်မာနိုင်ငံတွင် ပြသခဲ့ပြီး
နိုုင်ငံတကာအထင်ကရ ဓါတ်ပုံပွဲတော်များနှင့် နိုုင်ငံတကာ Photo Magazine များတွင် ရွေးချယ်
ပြသခံရသည်။ယုုယုုသည်ဓါတ်ပုုံ ရိုုက်ကူးခြင်းအပြင် ဓါတ်ပုုံစာအုုပ်ဖန်တီးခြင်းကိုုလည်း
အနုုပညာတစ်ခုအဖြစ် ကျင့်သုုံးလျက်ရှိသည်။ယုယုသည်အမှတ်တရများနှင့် ဆက်ဆိုင််သည့်
ကိုယ်ပိုင်ဓါတ်ပုံဇာတ်လမ်းများ နှင့် လူ့အခွင့်အရေးဆိုင်ရာ မှတ်တမ်းဓါတ်ပုံဇာတ်လမ်းများကို