Learning > Inspiration

Never too old to rock

The Straits Times on 10 Aug 2017


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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."


The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


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