Better together

Never too old to rock

In a celebration of Singapore's diverse cultures, about 400 performers from the People's Association put up a display symbolising a banquet attended by those from different segments of society. Intricate formations such as a beating heart were part o
About 400 pupils from Henry Park Primary School putting up an upbeat performance during the pre-parade segment, just before Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrived.ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN
In a celebration of Singapore's diverse cultures, about 400 performers from the People's Association put up a display symbolising a banquet attended by those from different segments of society. Intricate formations such as a beating heart were part o
Madam Mary Ho, or Grandma Mary, rocking an electric guitar solo on the biggest stage in the country. At 81, she was the oldest among the more than 3,000 performers in this year’s National Day Parade.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
In a celebration of Singapore's diverse cultures, about 400 performers from the People's Association put up a display symbolising a banquet attended by those from different segments of society. Intricate formations such as a beating heart were part o
In a celebration of Singapore’s diverse cultures, about 400 performers from the People’s Association put up a display symbolising a banquet attended by those from different segments of society. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
In a celebration of Singapore's diverse cultures, about 400 performers from the People's Association put up a display symbolising a banquet attended by those from different segments of society. Intricate formations such as a beating heart were part o
Intricate formations such as a beating heart were part of a choreographed display by 600 performers from the Singapore Soka Association, based on the theme of growing the family and building our society.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
In a celebration of Singapore's diverse cultures, about 400 performers from the People's Association put up a display symbolising a banquet attended by those from different segments of society. Intricate formations such as a beating heart were part o
Performers from the first five acts of the show dancing energetically after joining those of the final act for the grand finale, which featured a fireworks medley. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN
In a celebration of Singapore's diverse cultures, about 400 performers from the People's Association put up a display symbolising a banquet attended by those from different segments of society. Intricate formations such as a beating heart were part o
Manager Dominic Chan, 42, and his six-year-old son Raphael watching the Singapore flag being flown by a Chinook helicopter during the National Day Parade celebrations yesterday.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Four seniors bring the house down in energetic arts showcase

When radio deejay Brian Richmond first told his family and friends that he had to rap - and in Malay, no less - at the National Day Parade this year, they were shocked.

The 70-year-old, who is a grandfather of one, also found it a challenge as his forte is in hosting.

But he agreed when he was approached by the show organisers.

"I agreed to give it a try because that is my philosophy in life... Hopefully the young ones will look upon us kindly to see how sporting our seniors can be," he added.

He was among four senior performers in an energetic showcase of dance and music at the NDP last night, who were at least 60 and positive examples of active ageing.

The others included Mrs Santha Bhaskar, 77, the artistic director of Bhaskar's Arts Academy who performed a traditional Indian dance piece; and veteran singer Rahimah Rahim, 61, who sang an excerpt from the 2008 National Day song Shine For Singapore in Mandarin.

Rounding off the quartet was the NDP's oldest performer, 81-year-old Mary Ho - popularly known as Grandma Mary - who drew cheers for her electric guitar solo in the same segment.

This year's show is not the first time that Mrs Bhaskar has performed at the parade.

But what made this year's show especially memorable was the chance to meet other entertainers whom she had not interacted with before, particularly Madam Rahimah, whose music she has been a fan of since her teens. "It's quite special that I could perform alongside her," said Mrs Bhaskar.

Madam Rahimah said performing in Mandarin was not a challenge at all, given her ample experience singing in Mandarin.

"As Singaporeans, we have to learn from each other, including new languages," she added.

Mrs Bhaskar hopes more people will participate in the arts, regardless of age. "Practising the arts - music, dance, or visual art - is good for the spirit and it keeps us healthy."

Madam Ho, who picked up the electric guitar in her 60s as she was drawn to rock and blues music, said: "If you love something, you just keep going on. You need to keep learning new things."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2017, with the headline 'Never too old to rock'. Print Edition | Subscribe