Cover art for podcast HERstory: Southeast Asia

HERstory: Southeast Asia

26 EpisodesProduced by Agas RamirezWebsite

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.


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.

This month's ad is Tuktuk Box. They are a specialty food retailer offering curated Southeast Asian boxes and products founded by two Southeast Asian American women who recognized the need to create a cross-cultural bridge to foster social change. They partner with vetted small business owners  and local farmers to share carefully crafted ingredients and recipes from their own community. If you're in the US, go check them out!

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.

Educational emoji reaction


Interesting emoji reaction


Funny emoji reaction


Agree emoji reaction


Love emoji reaction


Wow emoji reaction


Listen to HERstory: Southeast Asia


A free podcast app for iPhone and Android

  • User-created playlists and collections
  • Download episodes while on WiFi to listen without using mobile data
  • Stream podcast episodes without waiting for a download
  • Queue episodes to create a personal continuous playlist
RadioPublic on iOS and Android
Or by RSS
RSS feed

Connect with listeners

Podcasters use the RadioPublic listener relationship platform to build lasting connections with fans

Yes, let's begin connecting
Browser window

Find new listeners

  • A dedicated website for your podcast
  • Web embed players designed to convert visitors to listeners in the RadioPublic apps for iPhone and Android
Clicking mouse cursor

Understand your audience

  • Capture listener activity with affinity scores
  • Measure your promotional campaigns and integrate with Google and Facebook analytics
Graph of increasing value

Engage your fanbase

  • Deliver timely Calls To Action, including email acquistion for your mailing list
  • Share exactly the right moment in an episode via text, email, and social media
Icon of cellphone with money

Make money

  • Tip and transfer funds directly to podcastsers
  • Earn money for qualified plays in the RadioPublic apps with Paid Listens