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Sugar Nutmeg

Storytelling Podcasts

Featuring casual conversations that unpack complex topics, Ruth Feriningrum and Alexandra Kumala talk to fellow Southeast Asians about Southeast Asia. Support this podcast:

Featuring casual conversations that unpack complex topics, Ruth Feriningrum and Alexandra Kumala talk to fellow Southeast Asians about Southeast Asia. Support this podcast:


United States


Featuring casual conversations that unpack complex topics, Ruth Feriningrum and Alexandra Kumala talk to fellow Southeast Asians about Southeast Asia. Support this podcast:




Juliette Yu-Ming Lizeray on Connecting the Thread Between Different Dialogues Around the World

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...


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...


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...


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...


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:...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


Wensi Fatubun on the Papuan Perspective and Why the World Turns a Blind Eye

Papua. A secret heaven of natural beauty. And a secret haven of natural resources. Gold. Copper. Uranium. Silver. Oil. Gas. How are these treasures related to the Wamena massacre, Biak massacre, Wasior massacre, or Paniai massacre? How did it all start? Which countries are involved? We unpack some of these with Wensi Fatubun, a filmmaker, photographer, and indigenous rights advisor to numerous international organizations. Wensi is also a part of Papuan Archives and Papuan Voices, two...


Andreas Harsono on the Complexities and Intricacies of Indonesia's Multi-Ethnic, Multi-Religious, and Multi-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...


Maryam Lee on Malaysian Identity, Spirituality in the Nusantara, and the Layers of Liberalism

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...


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...


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,...


Eugenio "Ego" Lemos on Timor Lorosa'e (or Timor Leste) and the 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...


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,...


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...