Selamat Jalan Achdiat Kartamihardja…

Kamis 8 July 2010 sekitar jam 11 siang, seorang teman memanggil namaku, ada kabar duka pak Achdiat Kartamihardja meninggal dunia..inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi roji’un….ucapku tercekat.

Nama Achdiat K Mihardja, seorang sastrawan besar yang saya kenal dan kagumi sejak saya duduk di SMP, memang sejak beberapa minggu belakangan diberitakan dirawat di Canberra Hospital dalam usianya yang menginjak ke 99 tahun.

Mau nggak menemani memandikan jenazahnya, kata temanku kemudian memecahkan keterpakuanku. Memandikan jenazah?? Kataku agak terbata, bukan apa-apa aku belum pernah memandikan jenazah.. ya, siapa lagi kalau bukan kita-kita, lanjut temanku, disini kan komunitas orang islam terbatas..

Sekitar jam 1 kemudian aku dan kedua temanku meluncur menuju Tobin Brother Funeral, Kingston, tempat pemandian jenazah. Memang sesuai peraturan di Australia, tidak diijinkan untuk memandikan jenazah dirumah sendiri, bahkan untuk membawa jenazah ke rumah pun harus dengan prosedur dan pengawasan yang ketat, karena terkait dengan masalah kesehatan lingkungan.

Di depan Tobin Brother Funeral telah menunggu beberapa orang termasuk salah satu anak kandung beliau. Proses pemandian sendiri dipimpin salah seorang ulama dari Indonesia yang telah menjadi Permanent Resident Australia. Proses pemandian selesai pukul 3 siang waktu Canberra dan setelah dikafani, jenazah kemudian dibawa ke Canberra Mosque di daerah Yarralumla untuk disholatkan. Pihak KBRI sendiri dari pengumuman resmi yang disebar melalui beberapa milis mengadakan tahlilan setelah proses pemakaman.

Selepas Ashar, kita kemudian mencari restaurant, karena tersadar perut yang sudah keroncongan belum terisi makanan. Dalam perjalanan pulang aku tercenung, ada banyak hal yang hinggap di benakku. Pertama, takdir ternyata mempertemukan aku dengan sosok Achdiat Kartamihardja yang terkenal dengan novel Atheis-nya yang sangat saya kagumi dalam kondisi yang sudah berbeda di tempat antah berantah di negeri orang, kedua, agak miris juga kalau aku ditakdirkan meninggal dunia di negeri yang muslimnya minoritas seperti di Australia ini apalagi tak ada keluarga, disaat seperti itu mungkin benar-benar merasakan nilai persaudaraan sesama muslim, ketiga, tak ada salahnya memang kita sebagai muslim belajar hal-hal yang terkadang kita abaikan selama di tanah air, seperti memandikan, mengkafani, dsb., karena bisa jadi hal itu sangat dibutuhkan suatu saat, apalagi hal-hal itu sifatnya adalah fardlu kifayah, yang artinya kira-kira kewajibannya bagi semua orang-orang islam untuk melaksanakannya dan tak akan gugur selama belum dilaksanakan oleh sebagian orang-orang islam yang lainnya.

Kupandangi pohon-pohon yang meranggas sepanjang perjalanan dari balik kaca jendela mobil, ah dunia memang hanya tempat sementara kita bersinggah, gumamku…terima kasih pak Achdiat Kartamihardja, ada banyak pelajaran hidup kupetik hari ini, selamat jalan, semoga amal ibadahmu diterima oleh Allah ta’ala ya robbil ‘izzati…

Teplok dan Sentir

lampu teplokTeringat obrolan semalam sehabis acara pengajian Uc-kum (pengajian komunitas mahasiswa Indonesia di University of Canberra), salah seorang kawan bercerita tentang kondisi kampung halamannya di belahan pulau Sumatera yang konon sampai tahun 90an belum juga disaluri listrik oleh PLN. Ketika kemudian saya juga bercerita bahwa kampung saya di daerah Purbalingga sampai tahun 1995 juga belum ada listrik, kawan saya seolah tak percaya, tapi ya begitulah kenyataannya, sampai saya hijrah merantau ke Jakarta untuk melanjutkan studi di STAN, tepatnya semester 2 pada tahun 1995, baru listrik masuk ke kampung halaman kami..

Saya pribadi tak malu mengakui kenyataan ini, justru saya bisa berbagi plus minusnya hidup di dua zaman, zaman teplok dan sentir serta zaman listrik. Saya mengalami zaman teplok dan sentir sampai saya tamat SMA, jadi bisa dibayangkan ketiadaan sinar yang cukup menjadi hal yang biasa, bahkan karena terbiasanya itu saya bisa merasakan terangnya dalam kegelapan, bukankah Allah itu maha adil dan kuasa, Dia menciptakan dua pasang mata manusia dengan sangat sempurnanya, sehingga retina kita dapat beradaptasi dengan lingkungan sekitarnya, coba saja matikan lampu anda di malam gelap gulita, untuk pertama kali anda akan susah melihat sekitarnya, tapi setelah beberapa lama, anda akan dapat menguasai daerah sekitar anda.
Ada beberapa nilai positif yang dapat saya bagi dari kehidupan di zaman teplok dan sentir, pertama, kita benar2 mentadaburi kuasa Allah lewat pergantian siang dan malamnya, selalu memaknai, menghargai dan mensyukuri hadirnya sang bulan purnama. Ketika sang bulan purnama muncul, maka anak2 akan berhamburan keluar rumah untuk main bersama menikmati mandinya sinar bulan purnama, baik main petak umpet, ular2an dan permainan tradisional lainnya. Tak jarang juga orang2 tua ikut keluar rumah untuk sekedar ngobrol2 dengan tetangga sebelah. Sekarang mungkin susah kita temukan anak2 bermain seperti itu bukan?? Kedua, melatih rasa tanggung jawab. Saya teringat dulu tugas mengambil teplok dan sentir, mengisinya dengan minyak tanah, dan menyalakan apinya serta mendistribusikan ke setiap ruangan adalah tugas saya, sementara anggota keluarga yang lainnya dapat tugas lainnya seperti menimba air dari sumur, dsb. Dengan keberadaan listrik mungkin tugas2 seperti itu sudah tereliminasi. Ketiga, eratnya rasa kekeluargaan. Kebetulan di rumah saya memang tidak ada televisi, almarhum ayah saya memang termasuk keras dalam hal ini, beliau tidak ingin anak2nya banyak meluangkan waktu di depan televisi, beliau lebih mendorong anak2nya bercengkerama bersama di ruang keluarga dan selebihnya adalah waktu untuk belajar. Sehingga, praktis ketiadaan listrik dan televisi mengakibatkan kami banyak meluangkan waktu bersama, bersenda gurau, bersama anggota keluarga lainnya. Tapi terkadang saya sempat curi2 waktu juga ke rumah tetangga untuk sekedar menonton acara TV favouritku, Selekta Pop ataupun Aneka Ria Safari he he.

Dengan hadirnya listrik memang telah merubah segalanya di kampung saya, tak ada lagi suara sahut2an anak2 di malam bulan purnama, tak ada lagi derap langkah lari anak2 di pinggir rumah, semuanya telah tergantikan dengan dunia kotak, televisi dan computer. Sekarang orang begitu banyak bergantung dari listrik, setiap aspek dan denyut kehidupan seolah2 berasal dari listrik. Hal yang menakutkan sekarang bagi orang adalah padamnya listrik. Padahal kalau dilalui tidak akan seseram yang dibayangkan kok, selalu ada nilai2 lainnya yang menggantikan nilai yang terbuang. Saya pernah membaca artikel tentang suatu komunitas kaum hedonis yang telah jenuh dengan gaya hidup cosmopolitan yang mencoba kembali ke alam sebenarnya, tanpa listrik, tanpa computer, telepon, dsb. Mungkin suatu saat ini akan menjadi trend. Anda mau mencobanya?? Gak ada listrik, masih ada teplok dan sentir kok…

Gambar, source : flickr.com/photos/96575756@N00/2602371061/

Diproteksi: Kamal..

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Welcome Ramadhan

Time passes away swiftly. As if yesterday we said ‘goodbye’ to Ramadan, now the holy month is about to reach us again. Especially for this year, I commit the fasting in overseas, Australia, far away from my family. It may be little bit need to struggle facing a temptation during the Ramadan. Here there is no atmosphere of welcoming Ramadan like in Indonesia. Everything goes in normal way like other common days.

From the deepest of my heart, of course, there is a hope to increase the level of my worship. In this mercy, benevolence and blessing month, everything is valuable, even just sleeping. Regarding to achieve it, some notes I ‘ve made as a guidance. Hopefully, it can be implemented well. Firstly, I want to clean my heart up by invoking Him for the forgiveness often and often. Secondly, obeying what He obliges to His creatures. Thirdly, keeping my tongues against unworthy words, and my eyes from such unworthy scenes and my ears from such sounds that should not be heard. Fourthly, Reciting the holy Qur’an as best I can. Then, I want to love and make my family, my relatives, my friends, and all people around me happy.

By commencing Ramadan, Insya Allah on Saturday this week, let me say..please forgive me for all my mistakes..and let us come up with the new life….

Indonesian Festival, Representing only Small Part of the Rich Indonesian Cultures

Yesterday was the special occasion for Indonesian community who live in Canberra since it was held a ‘big’ event, ‘Indonesian Festival’ in order to celebrate the 64th anniversary of Indonesian independence. Overall, the event was success, supported by the weather that was very friendly, as not as usual in the winter, yesterday was quite warm. Moreover, it was quite surprising because the visitors, not only Indonesian community but also foreign people, from Australian residents, Arabian, Chinese, etc. flocked to the Indonesian embassy.

What was it offered for Indonesian Festival? There we enjoyed some entertainment from Indonesian cultures, such as Rantak dance, Manukrowo, Trunojoyo, Batakese song, keroncong songs, batik fashion show, angklung performance, etc. in which began at around 10 am food and finished around 5 pm. It was also offered some Indonesian food in lot stalls, such as satay, tahu, bubur ayam, candil, etc. For people who missed the real Indonesian food, that event may become the right place to overcome the longing.

Looking at the enthusiastic Australian and other foreign people, I believe that this event could be the one good way to promote Indonesian tourism particularly by introducing the rich of Indonesian cultures in terms of traditional dance, folk songs, handicraft, etc. I did admit that Indonesia has rich beautiful cultures more than that was presented yesterday. Each region or ethnic group has it cultures and heritage. Maybe for some Indonesian cultures, we are as Indonesian sometimes do not recognize them. So that’s why by bringing those cultures in such kind of event like Indonesian Festival will help us and international community to more understand the rich of Indonesian cultures. It might be better if the big event like Indonesian Festival be prepared and organized well, such as building the excellent stage, dividing the stalls by some Indonesian ethnic group in which sold not only the food but also the handicrafts, etc.

The performance on the stage may also be better if it shows more vary. Indonesia still has many other good performance, such as ketoprak, wayang golek, kuda lumping, sendratari, etc. Indonesia has also many handicrafts. Unfortunately, yesterday, I was difficult to find it. Maybe it’s better if Indonesian embassy cooperates with some Indonesian traditional entrepreneurs to bring their handicrafts here. It becomes mutualism cooperation. The event is more extravaganza, on the other hand the entrepreneurs come up with benefit of networking. I little bit surprised looking at Sarah (Australian resident) who looks more ‘Indonesian’ by wearing a good model of batik and also the accessory of handbag made of coconut shell. It is really beautiful. Should be we ashamed to her??

Gloomy n’ Cheerful: Two Sides of Coin

Getting together with some friends sometimes becomes the best way to just release distress, such as this evening we came altogether to give condolence on the loss of our best friends’ baby. I know it’s hard situation for them loosing someone whom they are waiting for. Insya Allah your baby occupies in raudlatul jannah as refer to Hadits of Bukhori, the man who lives in that raudhah (park) is Ibrahim a.s. whereas the children stay around him are those baby who birth in fitrah (purity).

Even though you tried to be cheerful but I know from your eyes were not able to hide the gloomy. Believe me the time will erase your sadness. However, I believe you both are able to recover from this hard situation. In order to reduce your gloomy feeling now, you need friends to talk to. Don’t let you are alone cause it will provoke your deep sadness.

I know Losing someone we love can be the most difficult thing to go through in life. Personally I have had experience about that. But maybe I can’t be a good raw model for this case because until now to be honest I am still trying to struggle managing my heart to not feel loosing someone even or something even though it’s just the little thing. Like this evening when someone told me to off or maybe quit from the job (in which we have the same work place), to be honest there was something loose in my heart. It will become the second friend quit from this job. I don’ know the reason why I have to be sad. It always happened to me. Maybe I become too melancholic for this, I am sorry my friend, it’s really your choice n your life…

Overview the Australian Tax System Dealing with Processing the Tax Refund

Around 3 weeks ago I lodged my first tax return and surprisingly this week when I checked my bank account, the ATO had already transferred my tax refund. It doesn’t take a long time, does it? interestingly, I don’t need to come to the tax office and attach many documents as I thought before. It just go to the ATO website and download a particular program, e-tax, and follow the instructions there until finish and then submit, that’s all. In order to complete filling up the form, obviously we don’t need deeply tax knowledge since the questions and forms to fill up created in a simple way. Just answer the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, and input some data required for ‘yes questions’. Based on that of my experience has triggered me to just share my point of view regarding the Australian Tax System in particular processing the claim of tax refund with little bit compared to that of Indonesia.

I have been registered as Australian Resident for tax purpose since February 2009 at the same time when I got Tax File Number. My status here is a personal taxpayer. Personal taxpayer has the significant role in terms of contributing toward total tax revenue. It is common for develop countries. Not surprisingly, the highest contribution is from personal income tax, which is made up of gross income tax withholding, gross other individuals’ income tax and individuals’ refunds, accounts for 45.8 per cent of total taxation revenue. Whereas company income tax accounts for only 21.2 per cent of total taxation revenue. It is different to Indonesia in which the highest contribution is still from company income tax. It should be the big job for DGT to increase the tax ratio so that in the future the personal taxpayers have the significant role in contributing tax revenue.

Financial year in Australia is from I July to 30 June, so then in June, if we work we should accept a PAYG (Pay As You Go) payment summary from our employer. In Indonesia, it may be the same as 1721 A2. It contains some information dealing with our identities, gross payment, total tax withheld, etc. Here it is the example of PAYG payment summary.

Based on the data from PAYG payment summary, we can directly go to start to answer and fill up the forms in the e-tax. At the beginning we are just required to fill up the verification form in which contains of proof of identity, such as name, TFN and date of birth. The, we go to the shared secret information in which we need to declare our bank account. Shared secret information basically is the data and payment history of each taxpayer. Due to it was the first time I lodged the tax return so then there was no information available. When I rang the Australian Account Representative, it was explained that in the next year it will be available of my data. Providing that it utilizes an integrated system so the data from the employers can be traced. I don’t know exactly whether the ATO has the access toward taxpayer’s bank account or not but seemingly, it may have the access since when we open the bank account we are also requested to fill up the TFN. From the statement in the e-tax, it also shows that the ATO can access the taxpayer’s bank account.
Basically, the structure of Australian tax return may have no significant differences to Indonesian’s. It contains the information of income, deduction, tax offset, etc. However, the way those forms presented may be quite different. Here, it seems no complicated forms compared to Indonesia’s. For instance, in terms of filling up the number of income, we are guided to answer the ‘yes or no’ questions, such as, did you receive payment of salary etc from which tax was withheld or any lump sum payment from employer for unused annual leave? Y/N, Did you receive any income whether or not shown on PAYG payment summary? Y/N. In deduction section, the type of questions is the same, Yes or No questions, such as did you have any car expense, travel, uniform (specific clothing), self education expense, relating to your work as an employee? Y/N. It is quite simple, right?? If we want to claim the tax refund, we need to state the bank account in order to the ATO to transfer. A final assessment of the income tax liabilities of individual taxpayers is normally made on the basis of returns lodged after the end of each financial year. Refunds from the ATO are made where tax credits to an individual exceed their final liability on assessment. Again, there are no need physical documents required, except for some circumstances. So then, why the ATO dare to apply this system? Is it not afraid of such kind of frauds?? The answer may be they have already developed a strong system where all elements of government office and business entity become an integrated system to encourage this system implemented correctly. The second one, it may be back again to the culture, it means the national and society culture to support this system.

How about Indonesia?? I think Indonesia now has a significant advance in developing tax system. In my opinion, the weakness is no enough strong political will from the president and parliament to support. How come the DGT has a self confidence to copy the system from the develop countries whilst to get some information from other government ministry need a long time even no reply at all. How come the DGT is able to intensify the potential tax revenue whilst to access the bank account need a lot procedures and bureaucracy?. The DGT also has utilized information technology to support its performance. However, still it needs physical documents to be submitted. Again, there is lack of trust since it is in the process of transforming to the new system. Hopefully, it will not take a long time to come up with the truly new system so that taxpayers satisfy with the DGT performance. It is enjoy applying the TFN at home, right? It is enjoy claiming the tax refund at home and then check the bank account it has been transferred, right?

Reference:
http://www.ato.gov.au