Wed, Oct 01, 2008 - Page 17 News List

1,000 become US citizens in St. Louis 一千位美國新公民在聖路易出爐

An Osprey flies in front of the US flag painted on the Vehicle Assembly Building March 26, 2008, at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
三月二十六日,一隻鶚在一面美國國旗前飛翔。這面國旗就漆在佛羅里達州甘迺迪太空中心的太空梭組裝大樓外。照片:法新社

PHOTO: AFP

They had learned English, mastered American civics, undergone extensive background checks and adapted to a new culture.

But this group of 1,000 new US citizens had waited too long for this day to be expected to file into orderly lines for their freshly printed citizenship certificates.

Smiling broadly and waving small American flags, they swamped tables at Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena to claim the piece of paper certifying their new status.

“It’s the best thing that could happen to anybody. My family have been crossing their fingers, waiting for this day,” said Jude Patrick Okafor, 47, from Nigeria. “You have a choice. You’re free. You can aspire to anything you want to be. It gives you confidence and self-worth. In Nigeria, you’re more like a number.”

B.J. Malek, 52, of Jordan, said he was so excited, “I feel like it’s my birthday today.” The suburban St. Louis gas station owner said his struggles to learn English kept him from passing the citizenship test the first time, but he persevered.

The new citizens could trace their backgrounds to more than 100 countries. The majority were from India (16 percent), Bosnia (15 percent) and China (seven percent).

The reasons they sought US citizenship ranged from seeking work here to fleeing war in their home country.

Nedim Ramic, a 26-year-old who came to St. Louis in 1999 as a Bosnian refugee, said he’s feeling “overwhelmed with all these great things coming together at the same time.”

He graduated from Saint Louis University’s School of Law in May, passed the Missouri bar exam and became a citizen all in the same week.(AP)

他們早已學會英文、熟讀美國公民學、經歷過一大堆背景審核,且適應了一個新的文化。

但這一千位美國新公民已經等這一天等太久了,以至於他們未如預期般有秩序地排隊請領剛印製出爐的公民證明。

OUT LOUD 對話練習

Phil: If you could become a citizen of any country in the world, which one would you choose?

Walter: That’s a tough question. I think I would probably choose to become a citizen of Brazil.

Phil: Cool! Why would you choose Brazil?

Walter: Well, I love Brazilian barbecues. And the weather in Brazil is great too.

Phil: Any other reasons?

Walter: Yeah. The carnival and the beaches look out of this world!

菲爾:如果你可以成為世上任何一個國家的公民,你會選哪個國家?

瓦特:這問題好難回答,我想我大概會選擇當巴西公民吧。

菲爾:酷!你為什麼會選巴西?

瓦特:唔,我超愛巴西窯烤,而且巴西的天氣也很棒。

菲爾:還有什麼其他原因嗎?

瓦特:有。巴西嘉年華和海灘看起來棒呆了!

out of this world 極好的

If something is out of this world, it’s really amazing. For example: “The latest Batman movie is out of this world. You have to see it.”

如果某事「out of this world」,就表示它好得令人吃驚。例如:「最新的蝙蝠俠電影棒極了!你一定要去看!」


滿面笑容並揮舞著美國小國旗的他們,為了請領這張新身份證明,把聖路易大學的柴菲茨運動場搞得一片狼藉。

來自奈及利亞、四十七歲的裘德.派屈克.歐卡佛說:「這天大的好事可能發生在任何人身上,我的家人一直在祈禱,等待這天的到來。成為美國公民讓你有選擇的機會、可以享受自由、邁向任何所嚮往的未來,也賦予你自信和自我價值。在奈及利亞,你不過是個數字罷了。」

來自約旦、五十二歲的畢傑.馬萊克表示他興奮極了,他說:「我覺得今天就像過生日一樣。」這位在聖路易近郊經營加油站的老闆說,他第一次考公民時,就是因為英文學不好而沒有通過,但他仍堅持不懈拼命準備。

這群新公民來自全球超過一百個國家,其中大多來自印度(百分之十六)、波士尼亞(百分之十五)和中國(百分之七)。

從希望在這裡找到工作到逃離家鄉戰爭,全都是他們想成為美國公民的理由。

二十六歲的奈迪姆.雷米克一九九九年以波士尼亞難民身份來到聖路易,他說他覺得「這些好事同時降臨在他身上,讓他感動到不知所措。」

他今年五月從聖路易大學法學院畢業,就在同一週,他還通過了密蘇里律師考試,成為美國公民。

(美聯社�翻譯:袁星塵)

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