We all want the same things in life: freedom, peace, and stability.
I’m a banking lawyer. I’ve got a very Australian accent. Sometimes people say things to me like that refugees are not really refugees, that they are just business opportunists. I then say, ‘Well, I’m a refugee from Laos, does that change your opinion?’ With that, they are taken aback.
•be taken aback 被嚇了一跳
When we arrived in Australia, we lived first in a hostel in Melbourne, and then with my aunt and uncle and their kids in Sydney. There were 14 people in the house, and our family of 5 were in one room. My parents worked in factories, and my father worked a second shift in a restaurant at night so they could save up for a house.
•hostel （免費或廉價的）旅社 ; (UK) （無家可歸者的）收容所
•save up for 為…存錢
I went to a public high school in a rough area of Sydney, in Bonnyrigg, right in the middle of a housing commission area. Only 4 kids from my year went on to Sydney University, and I was one of them. I still remember the first day of my law course, sitting in the lecture hall next to people from private and selective schools, and feeling nervous, out of place and undeserving.
•rough area 危險區
•housing commission area 住房委員會區
•selective school 菁英學校
•out of place 感到如魚出水，很不自在，局促不安
My parents didn’t want to leave their country. They did it because they had to, because they were discriminated against by the Communists because of their Chinese background and political beliefs. Then they had to live with us in a refugee camp in Thailand for 10 months. And when they came to Australia, they worked hard, they always did the right thing, they tried to fit in, and they created a good family life for us. All my siblings went to uni, and we have all become professionals.
•be discriminated against by 被…歧視
•Communist 共產主義者； 共產黨員
•political belief 政治信念
•refugee camp 難民營
Back when we arrived, there was a bit more compassion for refugees. I think that’s what’s missing in Australia these days. Even in some of the ethnic communities, I feel that there’s sometimes a lack of compassion, because they forget where they’ve come from. So when people say something negative about refugees, I always speak up with my story, to try to bring kindness back into the conversation.
•ethnic community 少數族群社區
•say something negative 說壞話
•speak out/up （尤指對有強烈共鳴的話題）公開發表意見，坦率說出
Bring kindness back into our lives.
Photographer: Simone Cheung Photography