Just Kidding in Phonetics Laboratory
Oh, hi. I’m glad you’re still here. Er, can I ask you something? Honestly, why did you keep coming back? I don’t even have much time to visit my own blog. You see, I’m always stuck here at the phonetics lab, working my ass off all day on goddamit acoustic details and thesis writing. But, hey, I’m talking to you again now. Yes, that’s right. You! My beloved silent readers. How are you doing today, sweetheart? You’re looking more gorgeous these days. What’s the secret? Gee, don’t tell me it’s love.
Anyway, sorry for the crappy start. I’m just sneaking out of the lab and desperate to say something really stupid to break the monotony of my PhD work. Hold on, don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate this lab. I like it. No, no, no. I don’t like it. I idolize it! You know, I’m still a kid who is still kidding around doing so-called phonetics. So, it’s an honour to be part of this cool place. And right now, I’m feeling less and less intelligent as the due date of thesis submission is approaching. Grrgh.
But let’s not talk about my research today. Let’s talk about this lab. It’s part of the Babel Building at the University of Melbourne. If you visit its site here, you’ll see that it is the focus of phonetics teaching, speech science and laboratory phonology research. If you keep scrolling down, you’ll find my name listed among student research projects. I don’t know about you, but I feel like someone else is pretending to be me in this lab. Hey, I am Hilmi Hamzah, from the Phonetics Laboratory. Do I know you?
Anyway, there are around eight brainiacs working in this lab (me excluded of course). They work mostly on Australian languages, so I always wonder why the hell I am doing here. I’m a rare out-of-nowhere international student doing a research on a language that is hardly known by the world. I have a conspiracy theory for this. The university management might have a secret pact with my supervisor. The mission is to investigate the failure rate of an idiotic dreamer trying to get a PhD. I hope they don’t find any significant correlation.
But, fail or not, I’m still honoured to be part of the genius team here. Thanks to them, I’m always being reminded that I’m still a dirty, smelly kid. Most of my colleagues here are also tutors, so I could hear them talking so intelligently about cool stuff in the classroom. Whenever I try to interrupt, I feel like I’m talking rubbish in some ancient language. I’ll become more aware of my heavily accented English and, for some funny reasons, I’m afraid of making grammatical mistakes. So, I normally sit there in my comfortable chair, feeling stupid than ever, like I never exist, powerless and helpless.
Many times, I wish I could go back in times when I felt more powerful in the classroom, speaking English like I was born in England, punishing students who came late to class, or reducing some grades for some naughty reasons. Many times, I remember the times when I had the authority in the administration, changing examination schedules and controlling invigilators at my disposal. What has happened to me? I used to be the man of confidence and power. But right now, I’m just a mediocre student sitting silently in the lab while watching others conquer the world. You see, my intelligence and confidence are seriously challenged and hurt.
Still, I’m happy to be stupid and powerless. It reminds me of how wonderful it was to be so confident and powerful back then. It also reminds me of what’s coming next. Yes, before I know it, I’ll be back in my country and I’ll be doing exactly the same things that I did in the past, getting back the confidence and power that I lost in Melbourne. So, don’t you worry about my tarnished dignity. I’ll be fine.
Okay, guys. Enough ramblings for now. Thanks for listening. I’m going back to my work now. For now, let me just enjoy these blessed stupidity and cherished powerlessness while they still last. Chow!