Belajar Kebiasaan Baik

Beberapa waktu lalu gue dapet kesempatan dari temen gue Ope untuk cerita soal kebiasaan-kebiasaan baik yang gue pelajari selama tinggal di Jepang dan Australia. Sebelumnya gue mau berterima kasih dulu nih ke Ope yang udah memfasilitasi dedek-dedek pelajar SMA dan mahasiswa baru untuk belajar memperbaiki diri lewat diskusi-diskusi seru via whatsapp.

Sebagai orang yang cukup observant, gue sangat suka memperhatikan tingkah laku orang lain. Bahkan gue nggak pernah merasa bosan saat harus menunggu lama sendirian di suatu tempat selama banyak orang yang lalu lalang di depan gue, karena di situ lah kepala gue bisa main tebak-tebakan, kira-kira orang-orang ini lagi mau ke mana atau lagi mikirin apa. Weird? Maybe. Tapi gue yakin gue bukan satu-satunya orang yang punya hobi kayak gini. Hayoo ngaku yang suka gitu juga…

Singkat cerita, ada banyak banget kebiasaan baiknya orang Jepang yang gue pelajari selama tinggal di sana, terutama soal kebersihan dan ketepatan waktu. Mungkin kalian udah sering denger juga, ya. Mereka itu kalau ada meeting jam 5, jam 4:55 udah kumpul semua. Dateng jam 4:58 aja udah dianggep telat.

Soal kebersihan, jangan ditanya lagi. Nggak ada tuh yang namanya buang sampah sembarangan. Bahkan setelah makan di restoran atau food court, kita harus mengembalikan alat makan ke tempat yang udah disediakan. Sampahnya jelas harus dibuang sendiri.

Jujur, di Australia gue merasa orang-orangnya jauh lebih santai soal 2 masalah ini. Tapi ya nggak ekstrim juga, sih. Udah gitu, yang gue suka dari Australia, terutama Melbourne, adalah keterbukaan orang-orang soal perbedaan. Memang, yang namanya orang rasis itu ada aja di manapun. Tapi alhamdulillah selama di sini gue sangat jarang, bahkan hampir nggak pernah, dipandang sebelah mata karena cara gue berpakaian.

Oh, satu lagi kebiasaan baik di dua negara ini yang jarang gue temui di Indonesia: menunggu orang yang keluar sebelum masuk lift/kereta. Sebagai anker alias anak kereta alias pengguna KRL Commuter Line, gue adalah salah satu korban peperangan saat jam berangkat dan pulang kantor. Bukan perang bersenjata, tapi perang melawan gencetan orang-orang di belakang yang udah nggak sabar untuk naik kereta walaupun banyak penumpang sebelumnya yang masih belum keluar. Padahal selalu diumumkan, lho, sama bapak masinisnya. “Dahulukan penumpang yang ingin keluar terlebih dahulu”.

Terus maksud gue nulis ini tuh apa, sih? Ya nggak apa-apa juga sebenernya. Cuma mau mengingatkan diri sendiri dan siapapun yang baca, bahwa mengubah keadaan itu nggak perlu dengan cara yang luar biasa. Cukup dimulai dengan kebiasaan-kebiasaan kecil. Kalau susah tepat waktu karena kondisi jalan yang susah diprediksi, minimal sudah usaha berangkat lebih awal dan kirim kabar kalau kira-kira akan telat. Kalau belum bisa mengurangi sampah, setidaknya simpan dulu sampah di kantong sebelum ketemu tempat pembuangannya. Dan yang paling penting, hargai hak orang lain dengan cara nggak nyerobot. Gampang, kan?

Baiklah sekian dulu pesan layanan masyarakat dari saya. Semoga bermanfaat.

P.s gue tidak bermaksud membuat stereotype dengan menyebut “orang Jepang” dan “orang Australia”, ya. Hanya merangkum secara umum aja biar gampang ceritanya. Jadi bukan berarti gue bilang semua orang di Jepang/Australia sikapnya sama semua, okay

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My IDRP Journey #4: What have I learned from the Narrawong community? What did I give in return?

My IDRP journey is coming to an end. After staying for another week at the end of August, I am now editing my (almost) final draft of Narrawong Town Social Profile. These past weeks that I’m back in Melbourne, I started reflecting back on how this journey had been a valuable experience.

Until now, I still think being able to go to Narrawong and get to know the people there is such as privilege. There are many things that I could learn from them, especially on how they care about the town. Even though I am aware that not every member of the community takes part in environmental and social activities, at least those whom I met showed a great sense of belonging to the small town.

I was also very grateful that the families I stayed with were willing to share stories about their life and listen to mine as well. Technically, I was not allowed to interview them since I had not applied for ethics approval from RMIT. I made sure to let them know about this as well. However, they were still willing to share their thoughts on Narrawong. Their opinions could not go into the town profile I’m working on, but they did help me find existing documents about certain topics that I would’t have thought of otherwise.

Yesterday, in class, one of my professors reminded us that our work as a development researcher needs to benefit the community we work with. This made me wonder if my work in Narrawong has brought anything to the people whom I met there. Sure, I did not go there acting like a know-it-all who offered to fix their problems. I was there simply to learn from the town, which name I had never even heard before starting IDRP.

Come to think of it, maybe that mindset itself was already something that I could contribute to the community. I did every step of this research with genuine interest and willingness to learn from them. I remember every single person I met asking “why Narrawong?”, and my answer was always “because I feel like my knowledge about Australia has been limited to Melbourne only, and I would like to know more”. As simplistic as it sounds, I think this curiosity was a good start, even though it is not enough. As Freire says in his famous book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, one needs to practice humility and love to be able to understand others.

Right now I am at the stage of worrying about my future career. As much as I enjoy learning about the development sector, I’m not sure if I will be a good development practitioner. Nevertheless, I think Freire’s words are applicable in any kind of job in any field, especially that deals with other human beings. Being a humble, caring person will lead us to fruitful dialogues that help us understand each other better. That way, this world would be a better place, wouldn’t it?

Kuliah di Australia: Police Check dan Working with Children Check

Maafkan foto yang nggak nyambung.

Selamat malam pemirsa.

Kali ini gue mau cerita tentang dua item yang sering diminta kalau mau ikut kegiatan di Australia. Iseng aja sih gue tulis, karena menurut gue dua benda ini cukup penting tapi cenderung nggak dibutuhin di Indonesia.

  1. Police Check

    Di Indonesia, police check ini disebut Surat Keterangan Catatan Kepolisian (SKCK). Bedanya dengan di Indonesia, di sini kita nggak harus nyamperin kantor polisi langsung untuk mendapatkan surat ini. Gue inget banget, waktu mau daftar beasiswa dulu, gue mesti pergi ke Polsek yang lumayan jauh dari rumah, karena kecamatan gue belum punya Polsek sendiri.

    Untuk police check ini, langkah yang harus dilakukan cukup sederhana, cuma perlu melengkapi biodata online lewat beberapa lembaga resmi. Salah satunya Australia Post alias kantor pos. Di sini, harga selembar sertifikat police check adalah 49.90 dolar untuk yang akan bekerja (alias digaji) dan 29.90 dolar untuk kegiatan yang nggak berbayar. Kedua harga ini kalau sertifikatnya dikirim via e-mail, ya. Kalau perlu hard copy, harus tambah 10 dolar lagi.

  2. Working with Children Check

    Nah, kalau yang ini khusus untuk yang mau bekerja dengan anak-anak di bawah umur. Ingat ya, “di bawah umur” di sini termasuk remaja di bawah usia 18 tahun juga.

    Hampir sama dengan police check, pendaftaran untuk working with children check dilakukan secara online. Selanjutnya, sama juga, kita tinggal bawa dokumen yang dibutuhkan ke kantor pos. Bedanya, untuk yang satu ini, kita akan dibuatkan kartu khusus. Jadi di kantor pos juga akan dilakukan pengambilan foto. Tinggal tunggu kartunya dikirim, deh, ke alamat rumah. Oh iya, untuk kegiatan yang nggak berbayar, kartu ini bisa kita dapatkan secara gratis, lho.

    Dengan meminta working with children check, employer bisa mengurangi resiko kejahatan terhadap anak. Hal ini dibuktikan dengan catatan kriminal kita yang terbebas dari kejahatan seksual, kekerasan, dan narkoba. Ini penting banget supaya employer dan orang tua dari anak-anak di tempat kita bekerja ngerasa aman dan nyaman melepas anak-anaknya.

Baiklah, sekian dulu tulisan dan random kali ini. Semoga bermanfaat!

 

 

My IDRP Journey #3: Learning from History

My second and third weeks in Narrawong were spent exploring the town and its neighboring city, Portland. I visited the Portland History House where I got to see maps and photos from the Glenelg Shire area, dating back to the early settlement period. This place documents the history of Portland as a center of whaling and how its surrounding areas started to be filled by people who built farms. Way before the settlers came and start their new lives in the area, it was where the Gunditjmara people lived.

Growing up in a suburban area, I found new things to learn from this small community every single day. However, one of the things that I learned the most from the past 10 days here, that I can apply everywhere in the world, is how history and development cannot be separated from each other. Getting to know the area through its history, not only from the collection of Portland History House but also from conversations with local activists, made me understand that development never happens in a vacuum–it is also a result of the things that happened in the past.

In Narrawong, there has been efforts to combine indigenous knowledge and contemporary arts to create a sculpture that symbolically represents both worlds. Held under the broader Kang-o-meerteek project, the process of building this sculpture has brought people together to discuss their hopes for the community. The project also requires the community to understand deeper about its past. Therefore, apart from building the sculpture, the Kang-o-meerteek project also involved events such the Narrawong History and Local Author Forum.

As a student of international development, I have heard about the significance history to development multiple times before. However, experiencing it in real life reminded me that as an outsider, I can never understand the full context of an issue in one area without putting genuine efforts to learn about its history.

 

My IDRP Journey #2: Notes from the First Week

I have just finished my week of teaching Indonesian language at Narrawong District Primary School (NDPS). To be fair, instead of teaching I was doing presentations about myself, my daily life as a student in Indonesia, as well as Indonesia as a country. To my surprise, the kids were very welcoming and enthusiastic about me coming in as a foreigner. Usually, the kids would have Indonesian language subject for an hour every fortnight. With me being there they have a chance to learn everyday. Most of them have already known basic greetings, colors and numbers.

When I was doing each presentation, the kids asked a lot of question which shows their curiosity about the world, especially Indonesia. Some of them happened to have been in Bali as well. Probably the most interesting observation about the school is how being in regional small town does not limit them from the exposure to the world. The kids have a good internet connection, a laptop and an iPad each, which allows them to browse the internet when they are given the time.

Nevertheless, I could still see the close-knit relationship between the stakeholders in the school–from teachers to students to parents. This was confirmed by one of the Prep student’s parent that I met. The parent said that the school was very accommodating to new students even before they formally started the school. Having a small number of student also helped the school create an environment where upper class kids and their lower class counterparts can play together every day, doing the same game in the same area. The school also has an age group system where Prep and Year 1 students are put together in the same class; Year 2 with Year 3 as well Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6.

I think for the most part, my first week in Narrawong, especially at NDPS, gave me a new perspective about rural life. In the recent years, with the existence of internet and other telecommunication technologies, schools and houses in the area are able to get the information from outside as fast as people in big cities would. This also creates a new dynamic within the town–before, people used to get out of their house and see each other everyday, but now the ability to work remotely allows some people to stay at home without actually engaging with their neighbors.

This realization brought me to an understanding that the definition of remote and rural areas might be different in this era, compared to before the internet could reach those areas. Years ago, people in the community had no choice but to get close to each other in order to survive. More broadly, this observation is a reminder for me to consider how different each community might be even though their demographic characters might be similar. In terms of their connection to the “outside world”, while small towns in Indonesia might still struggle with even basic telephone connection, those in Australia–Victoria to be exact–might have access to internet and other forms of technology. After all, factors outside the areas have a big role in shaping them, even though the main stakeholders would be people within the areas themselves.

 

Puasa dan Lebaran di Melbourne

Assalamualaikum teman-teman,

Mumpung masih awal syawal, izinkan penulis(?) mengucapkan selamat Idul Fitri 1439H, taqabbalallahu minna wa minkum. Mohon maaf lahir batin terutama karna ngucapinnya super telat hahaha.

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But, anyway

Kali ini gue mau cerita sedikit tentang puasa dan lebaran di kota Melbourne, di mana gue tinggal saat ini. Di Melbourne yang musimnya berkebalikan dengan Eropa dan Amerika Utara, bulan ramadhan tahun lalu dan tahun ini bertepatan dengan awal musim dingin. Artinya, kami berpuasa hanya sekitar 11 jam 30 menit, dari jam 5:45 pagi sampai 5:15 sore. Enak? Alhamdulillah, pendeknya hari berarti kami nggak perlu struggle untuk bangun tengah malam dan terjaga sampai malam lagi seperti teman-teman di Eropa, misalnya. Waktu berpuasa yang singkat membuat kami bisa beraktivitas layaknya hari-hari lain sebelum datangnya bulan ramadhan.

Tapi, ada juga beberapa halangan yang kami (well, at least gue sendiri) hadapi dengan datangnya ramadhan di musim dingin: ngantuk dan lesu. Setiap hari bawaannya pengen selimutan di kasur, nggak minat bergerak apa lagi pergi ke luar rumah. Berhubung puasa tahun lalu dan tahun ini bertepatan dengan akhir semester, gue dan beberapa mahasiswa lainnya memang punya privilege untuk nggak keluar rumah setiap hari. Tapi, beberapa teman yang lain harus ke kampus atau gedung lainnya untuk menjalankan ujian. Bahkan beberapa teman harus menjalani ujian akhir segera setelah melaksanakan solat Idul Fitri. Alhamdulillah, buka bersama dan solat tarawih diadakan setiap hari di beberapa tempat termasuk kampus RMIT University. Jadi selalu ada alasan untuk keluar rumah walaupun mager minta ampun.

Ngomong-ngomong soal solat ied, dengan komunitas muslim yang bisa dibilang sangat besar, alhamdulillah sangat mudah menemukan tempat solat berjamaah di Melbourne. Bisa dibilang hampir setiap sudut Melbourne punya satu tempat melaksanakan solat ied. Untuk komunitas Indonesia sendiri, ada (kalau nggak salah) empat tempat melaksanakan solat ied dengan khutbah berbahasa Indonesia (dengan campuran Inggris di akhir), salah satunya tentu saja Konsulat Jenderal Republik Indonesia alias KJRI alias Konjen. Ibu Konjen juga mengundang kami, warga Indonesia di Melbourne, untuk menghadiri halal-bi-halal di hari berikutnya (yang sayangnya gue nggak bisa hadir).

Mungkin segini dulu kali, ya, sharing singkatnya? Niat gue menulis postingan ini adalah berbagi rasa syukur tentang kemudahan yang Allah berikan untuk kami di Melbourne. Kalau kalian berencana kuliah, working holiday, atau tinggal di Melbourne dengan alasan lain, jangan khawatir soal puasa, solat, dan ibadah-ibadah lainnya. Insya Allah kota ini sangat muslim friendly. Silakan tanya ke teman-teman yang waktu pertama dateng sangat baper dan takut berpuasa di negeri orang: sekarang setelah menjalani sendiri, ternyata alhamdulillah nggak ada satupun yang kurang–kecuali foto keluarga, mungkin.

Akhir kata, selamat berpuasa syawal bagi yang menjalankan!

24 hours in Canberra

To be honest, Canberra was never in my Australia bucket list. I just never felt the necessity to visit a small capital with nothing but government buildings (or so I thought). However, going on this 24-hour journey, which was kind of unplanned, sort of changed my mind. Read this post if you want to know why!

 

11:00 pm

Arrived at Jollimont Bus Centre, Canberra

Walked to Canberra City YHA

After about 4 hours on the bus from Sydney, I finally arrived at Canberra. My first impression: so quiet. Almost no one was around when I walked out the bus terminal, except fellow passengers. 

 

11:15 pm

Checked in to Canberra City YHA

The hostel was nicer than I expected–it’s very clean and bright. The location is also great. Well, it’s fair enough considering the price isn’t so cheap after all.

 

11:30 pm

Went to sleep
06:00 am

Woke up, prayed, took morning shower, packed (even though technically there were nothing to pack anymore)

Went to sleep again (sort of)

 

09:00 am

Had breakfast at the hostel’s kitchen

 

10:00 am

Checked out

Bought MyWay transport card

Alternatively, you can just pay cash to the bus driver–you do get discounted fare if using the card, though. Just keep in mind that the card itself costs 5 AUD each.

 

10:15 am

Went to the Parliament House by bus

 

11:00 am

Joined the free Parliament House Tour

This tour is highly recommended if you want to know more about the history of this relatively new building. Otherwise, you can just go around yourself. If the timing is right you can even enter the parliament question time as an audience.

 

11:45 am

Visited the Musem of Australian Democracy (old Parliament House)

Located just down the road from the current parliament building, the small museum offers a lot of information about Australian history and politics. They also keep the old rooms as they were years ago, so it’s an interesting place to take photos, too.

 

12:30 pm

Had quick lunch at a cafe outside the National Gallery

 

12:40 pm

Visited the National Gallery

 

01:10 pm

Visited the Portrait Gallery

 

01:40 pm

Visited the National Library

All the sites I’ve mentioned so far are located within the same Parliamentary Zone, so just prepare a pair of comfortable shoes and you’re ready to explore.

 

02:10 pm

Took the bus to city and then another bus to the National Museum of Australia

The museum is currently holding an Islamic Culture exhibition called “So That You Might Know Each Other”. It displays various beautiful creations from Islamic civilizations throughout Asia and Africa. Not gonna lie, I was a bit emotional inside there, especially since my visit was only a few days after Eid.
04:00 pm

Went back to city

 

05:00 pm

Went window shopping at the Canberra Centre

The shopping mall looks like it’s newly built. It’s quite big as well, but I almost didn’t find any shops that I wouldn’t see in Melbourne.

 

06:00 pm

Had dinner

Please be aware that most of the shops in Canberra are closed by 6 pm. The streets also start to be quite by then… So take extra care when walking alone. 

 

07:00 pm

Took luggage from hostel’s coin locker

Went to Jollimont Bus Centre

 

07:15 pm

Waited for the bus

Well, it was too early but I didn’t want to risk roaming around an unfamiliar town in the dark, so…

 

11:00 pm

Took off to Melbourne

Overall I would say that Canberra is indeed a beautiful city. Could be because I was there when the weather was nice, but nevertheless, I felt so relaxed during the day. The highlight was definitely the parliament zone–lots of insightful sites to learn from in the middle of a tranquil valley.  Still, I cant imagine imagine living in Canberra for long… After all, I love crowded cities better LOL.