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Browse through our carefully curated oral archives. Working with on - the - ground experiences, we aim to provide a wholesome and comprehensive approach towards understanding the cold war from a grassroots perspective.
In this group interview, Zhang Ya Ye, Ruan Ya Bao and Wu Wu discuss their experiences as theater performers on fishing vessels in Xiamen, their encounters with Kuomintang soldiers at sea, and their troupe’s adaptation of a true story about the capture of Kuomintang sailors by mainland fishermen.
Ruan Ya Ying recollects his childhood, his experiences as a sailor at the Xiamen Port, and his career as a political activist on behalf of the mainland Chinese authorities, during which time he also served as an intelligence officer for the People’s Liberation Army.
Zhang Guohe discusses clashes between the Kuomintang and Chinese fishing vessels out at sea by Xiamen Port in the 1960s.
Lee Tae Sik (pseudonym) discusses his early life in Japan, his return to North Korea and military service in the North Korean military, before he defected to South Korea.
In this first interview, Saguan discusses his university days, his friendship with Sawad Intarat, and his political activities.
In this third interview, Saguan discusses the Group of Local Teachers for People in detail.
Long discusses his experiences during the Khmer Rouge, and his efforts to commemorate those who lost their lives in the regime later in his life, as a Buddhist layman
Bou Nan discusses her early life under the Lon Nol government, her experiences under the Khmer Rouge regime, and how Buddhism gave her the strength to forgive the regime’s atrocities.
Sopheak (pseudonym) discusses her experiences under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
Sum Tong discusses his life of hard labor under the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.
Mrs Sor Sarath discusses her experiences under the Khmer Rouge Regime.
Ramon Ramirez discusses his views of the Cold War as an intellectual current in his early life in the Philippines from the 1950s.
Dr Elmer Ordonez recounts his experiences during the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines.
Eulogio Villaflor discusses his childhood encounters with the Hukbalahap and the Armed Forces of the Philippines units deployed to combat them in the 1940s-50s.
KM Venu discusses his personal life, political and social activities, and the caste-related issues in his village.
Naxalite activist couple Sivadasan and Shylaja discuss their family life and their involvement with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Red Flag, stating that they both feel that their Party work brings meaning to their lives, despite their financial struggles.
Mr Lai discusses his involvement in the Malaysian labor movement and the Chua Seng Pineapple Estate strike in 1966, for which he was later imprisoned.
Lin Yu recalls his childhood and how he became involved with labour activism; particularly, his role during the Bukit Asahan strike (in 1967), which was the peak of his labour activism in Malaysia.
In this group interview, Yu, Zheng and Lin recount their experiences living under the Malayan Emergency regulations, the food situation during the Bukit Asahan Estate strike, and their imprisonment.
Kunnel Krishnan discusses the Jenmi system which was in practice in Wayanad, Kerlala, from the 1950s, the slave trade held during the Valliyoorkkav temple festival, the Jenmis’ relationship with agricultural migrants, and various early interventions of the communist parties in the region.
In his second interview, Father Mani discusses the various mafias which were active in Attappadi, the legal measures he took to control the land and liquor mafias in the region, the cultural values of the Adivasi community and the factors which led to the brutal exploitation of Adivasi communities, including the sexual exploitation of Adivasi women.
K A Ramu discusses the plight of Adivasi communities since the loss of their lands to settlers and the land mafia, leading to malnutrition amongst Adivasi children, his Adivasi welfare NGO’s efforts to combat such problems, the issue of intercaste marriages and his own experiences as an Adivasi agricultural laborer.
John Xavier discusses Adivasi culture, the Jenmi system in Kerala, and various other related issues.
Ricardo Tacsay discusses his experiences during the Huk Rebellion and his changing views of the Huks before and after the Japanese Occupation
Interview with Bening. Bienvenida Lim Dawang (Daoang), second world war veteran, wife of a second world war soldier, American immigrant (1954), resident of Dau, Pampanga during the 1950s.
Madhvi (pseudonym) discusses the problems faced by Adivasi women in the Attapadi region.
Shaji P discusses the Adivasis’ issues and the Kerala government’s approach towards them.
Roy Caruz discusses his homosexuality, drug abuse, and relationships from the 1950s to present day in the Philippines
Marilyn Namuag discusses the many challenges she overcame in her life, beginning with her parents’ divorce, financial struggles, her own marriage, and having to navigate the era of conflict between the government and the New People’s Army in the 1970s-80s Philippines.
Monica Portugal discusses the conflict between Muslim and Christian groups in Mindanao, her experiences living undr Martial Law as well as her involvement in the smuggling trade in the Philippines.
Remedios Natad discusses growing up amidst hardship in the mid-20th century Philippines, especially her struggles in finding stable employment under the Japanese Occupation, which continued even postwar due to her lack of education.
Rosa Gumayao discusses her childhood and early exit from school, her difficult arranged marriage, religious conversion, and her career.
Ramon Maglasang discusses his childhood experiences during World War II, his career in goods transportation in several places, conflicts in Wao and Zamboanga, and his experience as a labor unionist at a warehouse in Cagayan De Oro.
Eutiquio Gumayao discusses his life and career as a native Lumad man, after his education was disrupted by the second world war.
Adriano Natad discusses his journey from Cebu to Mindanao in search of better opportunities in agriculture, and later fleeing the wars between Muslims and Christians, as well as between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
Brenda Valencia discusses her move to Cagayan de Oro as a child, memories of living in fear during the Marcos regime’s martial law, and how her family business of smuggling prospered in Puerto during the late twentieth century.
Jemina Sacro discusses the various struggles she overcame to provide for her family in the Philippines.
Anisito Edpalina discusses his early life growing up without a father, and his struggle to support himself and his family in his adulthood, working multiple jobs while moving across the Philippines, fleeing various conflicts since the 1950s.
Dora discusses her childhood, education, teaching career in Mindanao, and her involvement with the student movements in the early 1970s, as well as how her political views changed after the fall of Marcos.
Former 1LT Cipriano Drapesa in the Philippine Army recounts his military career in the early Cold War, and his political career after leaving the service. He discusses his training and various deployments both domestically and internationally across Asia until 1968.
Ba X recalls her transition into adulthood in the midst of the Second Indochina War. Her recollections reveal a narrative of the total mobilization of Vietnamese society on all levels to support the war effort. She reflects on a diverse range of her experiences, as a student, working civilian adult, and as a volunteer in the local militia forces, all of which were inextricably linked to her country’s experience of war.
Nhung recalls his early life as a student, and his long career in construction, both during and long after the Vietnam War.
Toch Leaksmy discusses his experiences from his childhood, at the beginning of the Cambodian Civil War, to his adult life as a government official and later NGO aid worker, across 1966-1990.
Pak Yatman recalls life during the 1965 Massacres in Indonesia, including his own imprisonment; explaining how social, economic, cultural and religious forces intersected to create a dangerous climate for all civilians suspected of being involved in the communist movement.
Mr M recalls life growing up under the New Order Regime, as well as his father’s participation in the killing of suspected communists during the 1965 Massacres.
In this second session of her interview, Ila continues her discussion of foreign media productions, and later, local media productions, and how they shaped her understanding of communism, as well as elaborating on the racial riots in Singapore, her career and her Islamic beliefs.
In this third session of her interview, Sally discusses Singapore’s domestic development, gender norms, and her exposure to foreign media during the Cold War Era.
In this third session of her interview, Chan Kan Yee shares her reflections on foreign powers, their technological prowess, the domestic Communist movement, her own interest in science and the responses she received for it from her elders, as well as her views of Western feminism in the 1970s.
In this second session of her interview, Sally discusses her awareness of the global dimensions of the Cold War, and her understanding of the ideas of Communism and related social movements, as she got older.
Han Khom recounts her life under the Khmer Rouge regime.
In this 1st interview Buten Tai Wan briefly discusses his early life and military career in Cold War Taiwan.
Yang Huohui discusses his experiences in Japanese-occupied Taiwan and under the postwar Kuomintang government, discussing how he overcame poverty and served in the military in the Battle of Kinmen in 1958.
Zhang Yamin discusses his experiences growing up in the Xiamen Port from the 1950s during the Cold War.
Ruan Lao Gu discusses his experiences at Xiamen Port during and after the Cold War.
Kim Haeng Il (pseudonym) discusses his early life growing up in Japan, his disappointment upon returning to North Korea, and his efforts to escape and discourage fellow Koreans in Japan from returning to North Korea.
Lee Ok Ja (pseudonym) discusses how she was separated from her family when they returned to North Korea, and how she continues supporting them from Japan.
Panida Worrawong (pseudonym) discusses the impact of her husband’s leftist activism on her life in the 1970s in Thailand.
In this second interview, Saguan further discusses his university days, his friendship with Sawad Intarat, and his political activities.
Bopha (pseudonym) discusses her experiences as a nurse under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Keav Ean reflects on life during the Cambodian Civil War and under the Khmer Rouge regime, discussing his experiences of fleeing from conflict, political repression, and having to endure starvation and illness.
Siny discusses his experiences living under the Khmer Rouge regime, the grudge he bore towards his oppressors, and how he found the ability to forgive them later through Buddhist teachings.
Thida recounts her experiences before, during, and after the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia.
Major Maximo Young discusses his military career during the Cold War, serving in the Korean War, suppressing the Huk Rebellion in the Philippines, and being deployed to the Vietnam War.
Vincente Lava III discusses his family’s experiences during the Cold War in light of their history of involvement with the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Isabelita Basilio discusses her understanding of the Huk Rebellion in the 1950s, and its echoes in the present Duterte administration.
Civic Chandran discusses the factors which shaped his interests in communist politics, his life as a teacher in Wayanad, his interventions as a writer, his involvement as a communist, his days in prison, and his major activities after leaving the Naxalite organization.
Former Naxalite activist Raghavan discusses his family background and the nature of Jenmi exploitations in his village, as well as his political activities in the Naxalite Movement.
Baburaj discusses his early struggles in life, his association with the Naxalite groups, and his activism for helping Adivasi communities.
In this second interview, Lin discusses his later experiences in the Malaysian labor movement in the 1960s-70s, from the February 13 Demonstration, the split of the Socialist Front, and how his experiences were affected by the Cultural Revolution.
Ye discusses his childhood and participation in the vernacular high school student movement in Penang, his motivations for joining the Communist Party of Malaya (CPM), his return to Penang after the Hadyaai Peace Treaty in 1989, and his efforts to build a memorial for his fallen comrades.
Monlit Uichanco describes his experiences as a distant observer of the Cold War.
Kunnel Krishnan discusses his early days as a migrant settler in the Mananthavady region of Kerala, India, his experience with the Jenmis and Adivasi communities, his association with the communist parties, and his activities as a member of the Naxal organization.
In this interview, Father Mani discusses his life, his human rights activism in Attapadi and the failure of the mainstream communist parties in addressing the problems of Adivasis and other lower-caste communities in Kerala.
Baburaj Thrikkaipatta discusses his life and political activities associated with various radical left-wing environmental groups, as well as his estrangement from them. He also talks about his current efforts to promote sustainable development in his community in Kerala.
Janardhanan Vythiri discusses his personal life and political activities associated with CPI-M from 1977.
Karian discusses his life, socio-political views, struggles against Jenmi exploitation of Adivasi communities, and his encounter with the radical communist Naxalite movement, for which he was falsely imprisoned in the 1970s although he never joined the Naxalites.
Anil Emage discusses his interests in Russian literature and his inspiration for setting up a library of Russian books, detailing how most of the books in his collection were cheaply available in Kerala during the Cold War years, and how influential Russian literature was in Kerala’s literary culture.
Rajiv discusses his personal life, social activism, and the problems faced by Adivasi communities in the region.
Matthew Joseph (pseudonym) discusses his personal life, Jenmi exploitation, and the Naxalite presence in his village.
Sita Galorport discusses how her life trajectory was disrupted after her parents left them, having to raise her own children and her siblings; as well as her experiences watching the killings by ILAGA in Mindanao.
Rosallinda Marquilla discusses the various hardships she endured from childhood to adulthood.
Moises Tan Querol discusses his experiences during World War II, his term as a Prisoner of War, the suppression of the Hukbalahap, his service in the armed forces in Luzon and in the Korean War, and his career in the Philippine Packing Corporation after leaving the military.
Saturnina Moncada discusses her childhood experiences during the Japanese Occupation, her career in the Del Monte Company, her marriage, and how contemporary youth are different from her generation.
In the interview, Unie describes her peaceful childhood despite the conflicts in Mindanao, and how her life circumstances changed in her adulthood as she married and moved to other places.
Marina Ybanez Tapang discusses her early life in Cagayan de Oro City, her experiences in the smuggling trade, the conflict between ILAGA and Muslims in Mindanao, as well as her marriage and faith.
Leonila discusses her early life, how her education was disrupted by her mother’s enforcement of traditional gender norms, and how she later built her own career and family, making different choices for her children.
Felicidad Mendez discusses her early life, and how, when In 1983, when the New People’s Army established a stronghold in Valencia City, her family navigated through the by paying “revolutionary tax” to the NPA while remaining neutral between the conflicting parties.
Jennex narrates her life since the 1990s, from her beginnings in southern Zamboanga and her movement to Cagayan de Oro, where she had three relationships and brushes with the law for drug abuse.
Emma Sisles shared her experiences of migration from Negros to Mindanao and within Mindanao, her experiences with the government’s resettlement program, her marriage, and the use of occult practices to keep oneself safe amidst conflict.
Ana discusses her early life, her arranged interfaith marriage to a Muslim man, and how she was deprived of her dreams of becoming a teacher; living a life of hardships instead.
Esterlita discusses growing up in several locations in Mindanao and Cebu; how she pursued higher education in medical technology in Cebu, and how it went to “ waste” as she became a trader, until her retirement.
Duong discusses her brief experiences of the Vietnam War in her childhood, and her more liberal upbringing, which has shaped her understanding of the conflict in her later life, as she was too young to participate in the war effort.
Mrs Duzungda recalls a diverse range of her wartime experiences in North Vietnam. She briefly mentions her family having owned land in her early childhood in her rural hometown, before they moved to Hanoi.
Mr Khan recalls his teenage years in an agricultural commune; as well as his conscription for the Vietnam War.
Ninh Binh native Mrs. Dao Thu recounts her experiences of life during the Vietnam War and the early postwar years.
Linh Chi recounts her experiences in both Indochina Wars against the French and South Vietnamese/American forces
Agung Alit discusses the ruptures created in his family by the 1965 Massacres in Indonesia, how those tensions continue to strain his relationships as different groups within his extended family hold opposing views of his father’s role as a PKI sympathizer, and the after-effects of the public and personal memory narratives on contemporary Indonesia.
Pak Talam discusses his early life as a farmer, how he was drawn into the mass arrests of suspected Communists through his workplace despite not being involved with the Communist Party, and his experiences in prison.
In this first session of her interview, Ila discusses her early life growing up in Singapore, her mixed ethnic heritage, her identification as a Malay-Muslim, and her exposure to the term Communism, and foreign media productions.
In this first session of her interview, Ker Pog Ngoh discusses her early life and education, her family’s socioeconomic status, and her eldest brother’s involvement in the Communist movement in Singapore, across the 1950s-60s.
Siv Thuon recounts his life during the Cambodian Civil War.
Oka briefly discusses his early life and childhood in Bali, before recounting his experiences of the 1965-66 Massacres in Bali.
Akino Sakichi discusses his experiences in Taiwan under Japanese colonial rule and later the Kuomintang government, under which he served as a teacher and was wrongfully arrested as a suspected communist sympathizer.
Matsuyama Harumi discusses her experiences in Taiwan under the Kuomintang government, which she eventually worked for, even though the authorities once wrongfully arrested her father in her childhood.
Chen Fuyu discusses the life circumstances of Xiamen Port fishermen in Cold War China.
Zeng Moushui discusses his family’s encounters with hostile Kuomintang forces circa 1949.
Choi Bok Sil (pseudonym) discusses her childhood in Japan, her parents’ differing allegiances to North and South Korea, her return to the North with her father in 1961, and her experiences there.
Kim Choo Wol (pseudonym) discusses her early life in Japan, her return to North Korea, and her defection to South Korea.
Santi discusses his experiences as an educator, civil servant, and leftist activist in Thailand from the 1970s
In this second interview, Santi elaborates on the founding of the Group of Local Teachers for People (GLTP), the Baan Tonkeaw incident, and his reflection on the consequences of the crackdown on the leftist movement after the 6 October 1976 Massacre.
San Song discusses the experiences of political repression and deprivation he endured under the Khmer Rouge regime.
Mrs Sim discusses her hardships under the Khmer Rouge, and her spiritual experiences during and after the regime.
Sopheap (pseudonym) discusses her life as a widow under the Khmer Rouge regime
Mr Tou discusses his experiences under the Khmer Rouge regime, the importance of passing that memory down to future generations of Cambodians, and how that could be achieved.
Perfecto and Gabriela Gabriel discuss their experiences during the Japanese Occupation and the immediate postwar years in the Philippines, focusing on their encounters with the Hukbalahap.
Serenidad Lingayo Lat discusses her experiences during WWII and the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines
In this group interview, Victoria Donato Paladan, Juliana Dionisio Paladan-Cusilit, Rufina Gabriel Paladan-Cusilit discuss the Huk Rebellion which occurred in their childhood in the 1940s and 1950s.
C K Janu discusses her early life in poverty, her experience under the Jenmi system, and her relationship with communist parties, as well as her social activism to champion the rights of Adivasi communities since the 1980s.
Venu discusses his family background, the social issues that influenced him, and his ideological views and activities as a radical communist. While he argues that such radical efforts were necessary in the past, he notes that communism is fundamentally incompatible with democratic politics.
Former Naxalites Vijayan and Divakaran discuss the factors that caused the failure of the Naxalite movement in India
Voon discusses his involvement in the leftist movement in Malaysia in the 1970s.
In this group interview, former labour activists Wu, Yang and Lin recount their experiences of the Asahan rubber estate labour dispute, discussing the issues which created labour discontent, their experiences of organizing the strike, how the dispute was eventually settled, and their experiences in prison.
Vasu discusses his activist career, from the mainstream communist parties in India, to the more radical Naxalite organization. In particular, he details the failure of the Thalassery Police Station attack in 1968, and explains how the various communist movements in India failed to bring about revolution due to overlooking caste in the Indian context.
In this second interview, Vasu discusses in greater depth the issue of caste in India, and how the communist parties did not address it adequately, from the 1960s.
Adivasi elder Kelu Moopan discusses his family’s traditional agricultural practices, their relationship with Jenmis, and how they benefited from the Congress and Communist governments’ wage and land reforms, respectively.
Ajitha Kunnikkal discusses her communist family background, her experience as a radical communist, and her activities as a feminist activist, explaining how she was motivated by personal, not ideological, reasons to join the Naxalite movement.
Fortunato Padunan recounts his life growing up in Huklandia (Central Luzon) in the 1950s, the epicenter of Huk activity in the postwar Philippines
Haridas discusses his political life and the ideological debates within the Naxalite organization from 1970.
Venugopal discusses various ecological challenges and his interventions as an environmental activist arguing for the creation of a green-red alliance to solve problems in contemporary Kerala society.
Kuruman discusses the Jenmi system that was in practice in his village and the Naxalite interventions he witnessed in his youth.
P A Muhammed discusses his political awakening at an early age, his participation in student activism affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI), his career as a party member from 1960, and the Party’s successes in addressing the exploitation of the native Adivasi communities by the landowning Jenmis.
Samuel Ranan discusses his early life, his childhood experiences during the Japanese occupation, his marriage, perceptions of Marcos’ presidency, as well as his career as a licensed treasure hunter in the Philippines, where he was deceived repeatedly by those around him
In this interview, Whisky discusses his experiences as a student activist-turned-spy for the military, then as an army ranger sniper, his committing summary killings, and his subsequent conviction for his crimes, imprisonment, and release.
Perseveranda Torres Torralba discusses her experiences growing up, how it helped her to become the person she is today, and how she wants to teach this experience to future generations.
Dejaro discusses his experiences of childhood abuse by his father, the social situations in Davao (religious friction between Christians and Muslims, youth gangs, student activism, etc.), the city’s situation right after President Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law, and his career as a musician.
Mary Rose Hamdani discusses how her childhood in Zamboanga, a Muslim port society, shaped her worldview and social life in Puerto, Cagayan de Oro City.
Amerah discusses her life as a Muslim woman in Christian majority Cagayan de Oro, beginning with her parents’ early life, and later her experiences of enduring a forced child marriage, marital rape, and how her own daughter narrowly escaped the same fate.
Monredongo discusses the various hardships and tragedies she endured from her childhood to adulthood.
Leo discusses his school life, having both Christian and Muslim classmates, his career as a salesman, as well as his family members’ connections to the police, student activism, and ILAGA (the Christian militia group).
Thelma discusses the various difficulties she overcame to complete her education, and her personal life, from the 1950s.
Joan discusses her childhood, career and marriage.
Leo Abroguiena discusses his difficult childhood, life during the Japanese Occupation, and his career and marriages in the postwar Philippines.
Antonio Timugan Jr. discusses growing up in poverty, his career, and how he found a way to have a family of his own and provide for them despite his humble beginnings.
Dung recalls her wartime experiences through her unique positionality of having been a very young child during the war years.
Ba Tran briefly recalls his life as a student before the war, and discusses his military career as a conscript in the North Vietnamese forces.
Mrs. Hoang Mai recalls her years as a student prior to the Vietnam War, and how the war altered her education and career pathway.
Ba Nguyen recalls life during the Vietnam War, discussing how her father served as a spy for the communists during French rule, which made her family comparatively more affluent, such that she was able to pursue her education and later serve as an administrator for a government garment factory, unlike most of her female peers.
Putu Set discusses his life during the 1965-66 Massacres in Indonesia, as well as his later life as an intellectual leader in the Hindu community during Suharto’s regime, and his experiences as a Hindu Priest during his retirement.
In this first session of her interview, Sally discusses her childhood, early education, family socioeconomic status, and her parents’ background.
In this second session of her interview, Ker Pog Ngoh discusses her early childhood, her family’s socioeconomic status, and her views of traditional gender roles, inter-ethnic tensions, and the Communist movement, from the 1950s to the present.
Ba Quyen recalls his early involvement in the Communist movement of Vietnam, beginning as a Youth Leader at the level of his commune, and later as a Vietcong Special Forces operator during the Vietnam War.
In this first session of her interview, Chan Kan Yee discusses her early childhood and schooling, her family’s socioeconomic status, the gender norms she observed in her mother’s and grandmother’s generations, and her parents’ view of domestic politics in the 1960s-70s.
In this second session of her interview, Chan Kan Yee recounts her secondary education, discussing the Singapore government’s promotion of English education over Chinese education to combat Communist influences in Chinese schools, its support for the sciences, and how the local education promoted Confucian values and nationalism in students.
Nhim Bunthoeun recalls his life in Cambodia from the 1970s-1990s.
In this second interview Buten Tai Wan elaborates in greater detail about his early life and military career in Cold War Taiwan.