A lecturer from Universitas Airlangga Department of English Language and Literature, Dewi Meyrasyawati SS MA M Hum, never thought would receive the Golden Squirrel Tail award from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands because the previous recipient of the award was a local staff from the Netherlands.
Golden Squirrel Tail is an annual award by the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The department is the place where Dewi is currently studying for her doctorate education. Dewi is deemed to have given a significant contribution to the department.
Thus, she received the award.
From her colleagues’ viewpoint
Many staff from her department consider Dewi a hardworking person. One of them was the Research Manager of the Department, Dr Marina de Regt.
In her speech, Dr Marina saw Dewi as a hardworking woman. Almost every day, Dewi always came to the campus. “Perhaps to the board members, this is an amazing work ethic. Especially for women,” Dewi revealed.
Besides taking her doctorate, Dewi must divide her focus along with her attention to family. Both of her children came along to live in the Netherlands, while her husband stayed in Indonesia with one other child.
Cultural differences between Indonesia and Netherlands also brought Dewi to achieve the award. Indonesians are known to be friendly.
“One time, one of my supervisors came to Indonesia to join fieldwork of my research about women wearing hijab. In our culture (Indonesia, ed), if there is a guest, we must treat them well. He then was happy with the kind hospitality, which became a positive assessment for him,” explained Dewi.
Furthermore, Dewi often introduces and shares Indonesian food with the campus staff. “Netherland foods are usually minimalistic. While our food is more flavorful, they were delighted to taste it,” Dewi added.
Dewi said that the staff loved the fried rice and fried noodles. Moreover, because the Netherland people are vegetable lovers, Dewi often added vegetables to her cooking.
Dewi also actively participated in the deep democracy (consultative, ed) forum held in her department. Dewi expressed the importance of unity and a warm sense of kinship in the forum, just as her first impression when she became a part of the department. Furthermore, in the forum, Dewi shared her experience when she was a victim of racism in Australia.
“That time, I was taking a master’s study in Australia. I responded to that racism by looking through different perspectives so it will not cause a never-ending conflict,” she explained.