Live free or die; Death is not the worst of evils- New Hampshire’s famous motto

BY SHEILA SRI PRIYA

Live free or die; Death is not the worst of evils.

This motto is popular in the state of New Hampshire (NH). I was introduced to this powerful motto by my host community who is the Hooksett Town Administrator Dr Dean E.Shankle Jr. The motto sounds inspiring and would always be embeded in my mind whenever I face obstacles dealing over anything in life. I would not take the literal meaning of it by choosing death but I would give anything my heart sets on a good fight.

ARRIVING IN HOOKSETT

When my partner Sakkara Sriroengla from Bangkok, Thailand and I landed at NH we were swept away by the lovely landscape and the warm hospitality of our hosts.

Coming from a tropical country we have never seen fall and these picture perfect magnificent tree leaves in the shades of red, amber, yellow ochre were just sureal.

 

The view in Hooksett, New Hampshire from my room

 

As children we used to see such pictures and maybe a glimpse of this beauty in American movies.

Little did we know we will be spending our next three plus weeks in this heavenly setting.

I come from Petaling Jaya, a busy city with over 800,000 population.

When I look out of my condo balcony I see busy traffic, electric trains and people on the street. The city never sleeps thanks to some 24 hours eateries.

Sometimes people may even forget to stop and enjoy the beauty of nature. Things are a constant rush at where I am from.

Meanwhile Hooksett has a serene environment with a population of 13,669 based on a 2014 census.

 

Hooksett, NH

 

However despite the smaller population Hooksett has amazing people who make sure the town grows in the right direction and the less fortunate are not left out of simple things in life such as food, clothes or even shelter.

Among the most interesting people I have meet is the Town Administrator Dr Dean E.Shankle Jr.

He is interested to learn about other cultures and countries just so he could emulate positive ideas for the town.

 

Hooksett, New Hampshire

He told us that he picked me and my partner to be in his town due to our media background.

He believed we would easily adapt and be open to new experiences and be able to share our views well.

He has put together some amazing and interesting activities and programs for me and my partner. We can’t thank him enough.

TOWNHALL SESSION

I was privileged to attend a townhall session held on an evening. Residents came forward and raised their views and shared their concerns regarding some upcoming developments in the town of Hooksett.

 

During a townhall meeting in Hooksett Town Hall, NH

 

An apartment project has been in discussion for the past 10 years. The two bedroom apartment project was finally approved after years of discussion.

Meanwhile another interesting project, which would possibly allow the town to grow and bring economic progress, would be the sewer project.

In my opinion Hooksett has tremendous tourism opportunity as it is close to the mountain as well as the rivers. It is also close to the city of Boston.

 

 

Outside Hooksett Town Hall, NH. (me) Sheila and Sakkara.

 

Despite the smaller number of population the town practices great public participation and informs its citizens of the happenings.

Similarly the city I come from also has public participations.

However I find it interesting that the private developers here are required to do public presentation. This is something I wish for in my city. When matters are discussed openly it would bring positive engagement and safeguard everyone’s interest. Ultimately any town or city has to develop sustainably.

Former Stark Mills. The building looks well maintained and stands magnificently.

 

Hooksett, NH

fell in love with the fall season

 

Another interesting thing I noticed in NH was the many of its old buildings. They are well preserved and converted into a different type of  workspace.

Former mills were converted to universities, schools converted to town halls.

This is admirable.

New Hampshire has odopted good maintenance culture and they love their heritage. This I will take home with me.

PS: The motto Live free or die; Death is not the worst of evils was part of a volunteer toast which General Stark sent to his wartime comrades, in which he declined an invitation to head up a 32nd anniversary reunion of the 1777 Battle of Bennington in Vermont, because of poor health. The toast said in full: “Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst of Evils.”- taken from Wikepedia

Batik

BY SHEILA SRI PRIYA
sheilasripriya@gmail.com

I would bring batik Terengganu as my souvenir from Malaysia.

Batik is this beautiful fabric which could be found in almost every home in Malaysia in the 80’s and maybe even now.

The Malaysian Batik has larger prints while the Indonesian Batik has tighter smaller prints.

It is a fabric with versatile use in my opinion. It could be turned into a high fashion garment or as a humble rug. Many families used it to wrap their babies and as cradle sheet.

It is so close to our hearts that we forget the beauty of it sometimes.

Hope my friends in US would like this 2meter colourful cotton fabric

My Journey from Malaysia to US began with a dream

BY SHEILA SRI PRIYA
sheilasripriya@gmail.com

I was always intrigued by the Americans and the amazing enthusiasm they share over the causes the believe in.

My first and only trip to US, New York  was in 2010. I was 29 and I accompanied my husband for a conference. Let’s just say I have not stopped talking about the amazing things I have seen and the eye opening experience I encountered there.

The kindness of people especially towards the less fortunate such as the homeless and their patriotism towards the country was admirable. They may have political differences but they love their country.

It was interesting to know some of the bakeries and food outlets would actually donate their perishable food to the homeless. This was something less heard of in my country Malaysia in 2010.

Now there are several soup kitchens in my country and more youths are embarking on positive community empowerment projects.

However there are also those who believe the homeless are a bane to the society. Sometimes I would relate to them the positive community camaraderie which I saw in US.

Fast forward,  I wished I could experience more of this wonderful American culture. I  wanted to share interesting insights of the community with those in my country especially the community leaders and my readers.

It was then I saw this email from my company admin.

‘YSEALI Legislative Process and Governance Professional Fellows Program funded by US’.

‘Applications for Cohort 4 opened March 1 to April 15 and now extended to April 30, 2016’.

ICMA’s Legislative Process and Governance Professional Fellows Program (PFP). This exchange is part of the Professional Fellows Program, which is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Office of Citizen Exchanges in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The Professional Fellows Program brings several hundred emerging leaders from around the world to the United States each year for intensive fellowships designed to broaden their professional expertise.

I returned home. Tucked my children to bed and told my husband of this great opportunity.

He was supportive and encouraging. He wished he could take the opportunity but he is an Internet Entrepreneur and he’s more focused in his business at the moment.

I applied and the rest is history. I was accepted and I am thrilled.

I will be traveling to Washington D.C this Wed, Oct 11, 2016.

My host community would be Hooksett, New Hampshire

Wish me great luck.