She picked up the guitar in her golden years and has since played at numerous charity events, and even launched her own album.
But on Aug 9, Madam Mary Ho, popularly known as Grandma Mary, will be rocking an electric guitar solo on the biggest stage in the country.
At 81, Madam Ho will be the oldest among the more than 3,000 performers in this year's National Day Parade (NDP), which will return to The Float @ Marina Bay.
She will take part in a segment celebrating the nation's unity and diversity. The parade's youngest performer is Shaista Eman, four, the daughter of veteran NDP host Nurul Aini. Shaista will participate in the parade's final act.
Madam Ho, who is the mother-in-law of former foreign minister George Yeo, said she first learnt to play the acoustic guitar by looking at books, when she was 60.
But the allure of rock and blues music made her pick up the electric guitar a few years later, she said.
For her NDP performance, she learnt two songs in about a month. She has been practising daily, and about once a week with the other participants.
"To me, this is the greatest show. I am playing for my country. And if you love something, you just keep going on," she said. "You need to keep learning new things."
The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.