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HERstory: Southeast Asia

Welcome to HERstory, the history of Southeast Asia, told from her perspective. We’ll discover historical figures, matriarchal societies, and contemporary female icons — and maybe learn about ourselves along the way. Season 1 focuses on the Southeast Asian age of commerce up to the colonial period.
Welcome to HERstory, the history of Southeast Asia, told from her perspective. We’ll discover historical figures, matriarchal societies, and contemporary female icons — and maybe learn about ourselves along the way. Season 1 focuses on the Southeast Asian age of commerce up to the colonial period. << Show Less
Featured Audio
12 | The Cham Matriarchy with a Note on Queen Ang Mei In this episode, we’re taking a deep dive into the Cham, a matriarchal and matrilineal society descended from the refugees of the Kingdom of Champa, whose members now mostly reside in Vietnam and Cambodia. Later in this episode we’ll meet Ang Mei, one of only three female Cambodian rulers, who was queen during a pivotal moment in Cham history.
We have two ads this month: First, meet @tuktukbox, a specialty food retailer offering curated Southeast Asian boxes and products to US and Canada subscribers. Second is the History of Colonisation podcast! @hoc_pod is hosted by Nanyang Technological University student, Fidellithy.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @herstoryseapod!
For a copy of the show notes, a shout out at the end of the next episode, access to the resource library, regional current events updates, the occasional bonus episode, and your own Spotify scannable magnet of the podcast, join us on Patreon at https://bit.ly/herstoryseapatreon.
Welcome to the Patreon, Ashley! And as always, many thanks to Shereen, Chanda, Laura, Yati, Kara, and Mando.
Newest Audio
18 | The Life and Times of Osoet Pegua Episode 18 is about Osoet Pegua, an influential Thai businesswoman of Mon descent who acted as the business agent between the Ayutthaya Kingdom and the Netherlands in the mid-17th century.
This episode was made possible by the generosity of Dr. Dhiravat na Pombejra, former Associate Professor at Chulalongkorn University, who shared his 2011 lecture on Osoet Pegua.
This month's ad is the History of Colonisation podcast, hosted by Fidellithy.
Like and share to support for free. $1 on Patreon and one-time donations through Ko-Fi. 😊
17 | Nyai Ontosoroh and the "Housekeepers" of the Dutch East Indies This episode is not about a particular historical figure, but about an embattled group of women known as the nyai, housekeepers, companions, and concubines in the former Dutch East Indies, or present-day Indonesia.
We’ll learn about them through several narratives, the most popular of which is Nyai Ontosoroh’s story from the 1980 novel, This Earth of Mankind. We’re going to start with a bit of background – how Indonesia was colonized and how the nyai came to be. Then we’ll end with the life stories of several nyai as immortalized in novels and newspapers of the time.
Click here for the trailer of the 2019 Indonesian film, Bumi Manusia.
The cover image is a hand-tinted photograph of a nyai by Jacobus Anthonie Meessen, c. 1867
As always thank you to our Patrons: Kheiro, Xiaomeiby by Milish, Jennifer, Christina, Raul, Raymond, Chito, Matt, Shereen, Charlie, Chanda, Yati, Kara, and Mando.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @herstoryseapod!
For a copy of the show notes, a shout out at the end of the next episode, access to the resource library, regional current events updates, the occasional bonus episode, and your own Spotify scannable magnet of the podcast, join us on Patreon.
16 | Filipino Girlhood in American Colonial Manila, 1908-1939 with Tala Wong We’re back from the long much-needed break and ready to continue our exploration into the hidden worlds of Southeast Asian women, with diverse topics and interviews centered on the colonial period before World War 2. This episode is about “Filipino Girlhood in American Colonial Manila, 1908-1939.”
Girls’ studies or girlhood studies is a developing field of historical research in the Philippines, says Tala Wong of the Ateneo de Manila University. Her MA thesis on “Filipino Girlhood in American Colonial Manila” explores the emergence of the Filipino girl, and by doing so, aims to give her a voice long denied in Philippine history and historiography. Educational materials and print media from 1908-1939 reveal that girlhood was an ideological battlefield for adults—colonial and local, male and female. In this episode we find out what it is about girlhood that makes for such a vibrant discourse.
Joining us too in this episode is Dark Theory, a Filipino-made podcast about mystery, intrigue, conspiracy, the sinister, the bizarre, the unsolved and twisted tales that push the boundaries of what we know to be real.
Producing a podcast like this takes a lot of time and research. If you like what we do, consider joining our Patreon like Christina, Raul, Raymond, Chito, Matt, Shereen, Chanda, Yati, Kara, and Mando who have been supporting this podcast. Give as little as $1 to get a copy of the show notes with all the references, a shout out at the end of the next episode, and the occasional bonus episode. There’s one coming out in the next few weeks. And if you can’t join us on Patreon, just tell your friends about this podcast! That works too.
Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @herstoryseapod. That’s herstory S-E-A pod.
PS: Stay until the very end for a blooper!
15.3 | Trese the Babaylan-Mandirigma with @KaijuQgle This is the last part of episode 15, where we sit down with Kai, a musicology major and comic book fan, for a casual chat about Trese, a Filipino komik series written by Budjette Tan and illustrated by Kajo Baldisimo. Alexandra Trese is a Babaylan-Mandirigma who deals with crimes of supernatural origin. Its first issue was published in 2005 and the animated adaptation for Netflix premiered on June 11, 2021.
THANK YOU to the wonderful patrons Raul, Raymond, Matt, Chito, Shereen, Chanda, Yati, Kara, and Mando. And please check out the article, "Filipinos find podcasts to be in tune with their culture," written by Raul Dancel for The Straits Times where this podcast is mentioned.
Follow Kai on Twitter: @KaijuQgle and Twitch: kaijuqgle
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @herstoryseapod! For a copy of the show notes, a shout out at the end of the next episode, access to the resource library, regional current events updates, the occasional bonus episode, and your own Spotify scannable magnet of the podcast, join us on Patreon.
15.2 | The Babaylan of Pre-Colonial Philippines with Makadiwata This is episode 15, part 2, where we sit down with independent researcher, Makadiwata, to get their thoughts on the babaylan's role in uprisings during the colonial period as well as the divide between the indigenous or traditional babaylan and the modern babaylan in the Philippines and abroad.
Follow Makadiwata on Twitter if you want to send them more questions after listening to the episode!
Below is a list of other babaylan-led uprisings during the colonial period for those who want to do further research:

Tapar rebellion, Iloilo 17th century
Lagutao, Nueva Vizcaya 18th century
Ponciano Elofre “Dios Buhawi”, Negros Oriental 19th century
Gregorio Lampinio “Gregorio Dios”, Antique 19th century
Papa Isio, Negros Occidental 19th century
Papa Faustino, Negros Occidental 20th century
Papa Pablo, Negros Occidental 20th century

Once again, thank you to the patrons Raymond, Matt, Chito, Ashley, Shereen, Chanda, Yati, Kara, and Mando, as well as Fidellithy of the History of Colonisation podcast, the women of Tuktuk Box, and so many other friends and followers of the show.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @herstoryseapod!
For a copy of the show notes, a shout out at the end of the next episode, access to the resource library, regional current events updates, the occasional bonus episode, and your own Spotify scannable magnet of the podcast, join us on Patreon.
15 | The Babaylan of Pre-Colonial Philippines The last episode of Season 1 is about a group of people, usually women, called the Babaylan -- shamans endowed with powers to cure the sick, predict right times of planting and harvest, and invoke the souls of ancestors to guide the deceased to the afterlife. There are many people I'd like to acknowledge.
First, the patrons Raymond, Matt, Chito, Ashley, Shereen, Chanda, Yati, Kara, and Mando, as well as Fidellithy of the History of Colonisation podcast, the women of Tuktuk Box, and so many other friends and followers of the show.
Second, Talahib People’s Music, who graciously allowed the use of their song, Babaylan, composed by the late singer/songwriter Tony Palis. The song is available on Musika Publiko TV’s YouTube channel if you want to listen to it again after this episode.
Third, David, Doctoral student of Sociocultural Anthropology at the Arizona State University, for sharing his resources and providing feedback, including the gaps in the information, which we hope to address in subsequent interviews.
Fourth, composers Sancho & Morin, for letting the public use their composition, Indigenous Filipino Music | "Firelighting Ceremony." You'll hear it in several places throughout.
And fifth, you, reading this -- thank you for being here for the ups and downs, mistakes, corrections, and I hope, audible improvement. As we always say, there are so many more stories to tell and we’re just getting started. I will be taking a break from regular episodes until I'm ready to launch Season 2, the Colonial Period.
If you want to check out the webinars I mention in this episode, head over to NHCP's Museum of Philippine Social History on Facebook.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @herstoryseapod!
For a copy of the show notes, a shout out at the end of the next episode, access to the resource library, regional current events updates, the occasional bonus episode, and your own Spotify scannable magnet of the podcast, join us on Patreon.
14 | Ba Trieu and the Uprising of 248 AD A heroine nine-feet tall, with yard-long breasts, and a voice like a temple bell riding an elephant into battle? There is a lot going on in episode 14, Ba Trieu and the Uprising of 248 AD.
Ba or Lady Trieu was a 3rd century Vietnamese warrior who managed, for a time, to resist the Chinese state of Eastern Wu during its occupation of Vietnam. We also present a correction about the "cetbang," or the breech-loading canons mentioned in episode 13, Dyah Gitarja and the Majapahit Empire.
Still joining us this month are the History of Colonisation podcast -- @hoc_pod is hosted by Nanyang Technological University student, Fidellithy -- and @tuktukbox, a specialty food retailer offering curated Southeast Asian boxes and products to US and Canada subscribers.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @herstoryseapod!
For a copy of the show notes, a shout out at the end of the next episode, access to the resource library, regional current events updates, the occasional bonus episode, and your own Spotify scannable magnet of the podcast, join us on Patreon at https://bit.ly/herstoryseapatreon.
As always, many thanks to the patrons Shereen, Chanda, Yati, Kara, and Mando, and to Michael who gave the idea for this episode.
13 | Dyah Gitarja and the Majapahit Empire This episode is about Dyah Gitarja, a Javanese queen regnant and the third Majapahit monarch, reigning from 1328 to 1350. I went over the top on clips on this one, but it's a long story!
We have two ads this month: First is the History of Colonisation podcast! @hoc_pod is hosted by Nanyang Technological University student, Fidellithy. Second is @tuktukbox, a specialty food retailer offering curated Southeast Asian boxes and products to US and Canada subscribers.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @herstoryseapod!
For a copy of the show notes, a shout out at the end of the next episode, access to the resource library, regional current events updates, the occasional bonus episode, and your own Spotify scannable magnet of the podcast, join us on Patreon at https://bit.ly/herstoryseapatreon.
As always, many thanks to Shereen, Chanda, Yati, Kara, and Mando for supporting the podcast.
12 | The Cham Matriarchy with a Note on Queen Ang Mei In this episode, we’re taking a deep dive into the Cham, a matriarchal and matrilineal society descended from the refugees of the Kingdom of Champa, whose members now mostly reside in Vietnam and Cambodia. Later in this episode we’ll meet Ang Mei, one of only three female Cambodian rulers, who was queen during a pivotal moment in Cham history.
We have two ads this month: First, meet @tuktukbox, a specialty food retailer offering curated Southeast Asian boxes and products to US and Canada subscribers. Second is the History of Colonisation podcast! @hoc_pod is hosted by Nanyang Technological University student, Fidellithy.
Don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, @herstoryseapod!
For a copy of the show notes, a shout out at the end of the next episode, access to the resource library, regional current events updates, the occasional bonus episode, and your own Spotify scannable magnet of the podcast, join us on Patreon at https://bit.ly/herstoryseapatreon.
Welcome to the Patreon, Ashley! And as always, many thanks to Shereen, Chanda, Laura, Yati, Kara, and Mando.
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