New Straits Times - - World -

SIN­GA­PORE: An 81-year-old guitar-sling­ing Sin­ga­porean granny has shred­ded stereo­types to pur­sue her love of rock mu­sic, be­com­ing a sought-af­ter per­former and un­likely in­ter­net sen­sa­tion.

Mary Ho’s late-flour­ish­ing ca­reer will reach its zenith to­day when she per­forms in front of a huge crowd at Sin­ga­pore’s Na­tional Day Pa­rade, mark­ing 52 years of the city-state’s in­de­pen­dence.

Grand­mother-of-seven Ho only started play­ing the guitar at 60, ful­fill­ing a life­long dream to learn the in­stru­ment.

She ini­tially taught her­self from a book with an acous­tic, and was con­tent strum­ming along and singing.

But when a friend in­tro­duced her to rock star Car­los San­tana’s clas­sic track Samba Pa Ti about a decade ago, she de­cided to seek pro­fes­sional tu­tor­ing to shift things up a few gears.

“It was too dif­fi­cult to learn on my own, so I found a teacher.

“But the teacher looked at me and said ‘Oh I’ve never taught any­one your age be­fore’.”

De­spite not know­ing how to read mu­sic, Ho was de­ter­mined to learn her favourite song and prac­tised up to three hours a day to get the hang of it.

Since then, she’s amassed a col­lec­tion of more than 20 gui­tars, recorded her own al­bum of Latin mu­sic and is of­ten in dechar­ity mand for gigs.

A video of Ho play­ing r clas­sic has more than 1 m views on YouTub

In fast-age­ing Si

Ho is a poster c to re­main acti elderly, and h tured in cam en­cour­a­gin nior ci­ti­zens stay ac­tive.

She admi to feel­ing a l tle anx­iou ahead of towhich day’s per­for­mance be­fore a crowd of 27,000 at the pa­rade, feat tary tat­too be­fore a fes­tive show fea­tur­ing lo­cal stars.

“Be­ing my first time for such a large per­for­mance, I nat­u­rally feel very ner­vous.”

Asked if she was ex­hausted from her ac­tiv­i­ties, Ho sim­ply laughed.

“Maybe it’s just my na­ture. It’s the love of do­ing things, learn­ing things... I don’t ever get tired.”

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