Songs of Love: The Lazaroos at Red Crowns

L-R: Aunty Mary, Aunty Chua, Mrs Lazaroo, Mr Lazaroo, Jasmine (care coordinator) enjoy a singalong at their Red Crowns home. Photo: Charlene Winfred

Mr Lazaroo met the woman who would be his wife on his birthday. 

It also happened to be his first day of work in the colonial offices, a few years after World War II. The now Mrs Lazaroo was the secretary to the second ranking colonial administrator of the social welfare office, and she was the first person he saw, upon entering what is now the former Supreme Court building. “She looked up and gave me a half smile,” Mr Lazaroo recalls fondly. Later, after he was introduced to the bosses at his new offices, he was finally introduced to her. “I held her hand for a little bit longer than I normally would. I had this feeling for her.”

So was it love at first sight?

“Yes,” he said simply.

Mr and Mrs Lazaroo pose for a photo in their Red Crowns home, while giving the young people (photographer and video crew) some very funny life advice. Photo by Charlene Winfred.

He remembers the evening he proposed to her, three quarters of a century ago, with the vividness of yesterday. The moon had just risen over the palms by the seashore, and as she turned to him, glowing in the fading day, he’d said “I love you.”

Theirs is a great love of the ages. After 74 years of marriage, it still plays out everyday. She is still his darling, and he is still her rock. “Im Choo,” says Mr Lazaroo, when we ask him if he remembers what his wife’s Chinese name is.  “In Chinese it means precious pearl. She’s my precious pearl.” 

Mr and Mrs Lazaroo came to live in their Red Crowns home just over a year ago. At 95 and 98 respectively, they needed a little more help than their family situation provided for. And how has it been so far?

Mrs Lazaroo teaches 99-year-old Aunty Pearl (a Red Crowns resident from another home) how to knit, by turning her instructions into song. Photo by Charlene Winfred.

“We are happy, happy, happy,” sings Mrs Lazaroo.

When you walk into the nicely appointed flat that Mr and Mrs Lazaroo live in with their other Red Crowns housemates, you might find them reading, playing music (he plays the guitar and keyboards) and singing (her voice is a magnificent instrument), or enjoying a treat their granddaughter brought them from her travels. At the beginning, they weren’t sure if they were going to settle in, the couple admits. But “fortunately we have a wonderful care coordinator who is very good and kind and attentive to our needs,” says Mr Lazaroo. “I salute you Jasmine!” They proceeded to enthuse about the dentist nearby that Jasmine had taken some pains to find for them. But it was just one of the many little things she does to make sure that they are happy and well looked after.

“I do small things. But with a lot of care,” said Jasmine, who is guided by Mother Teresa’s famous adage “not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Mr Lazaroo and care coordinator Jasmine love music and often have “jam sessions” with their ukuleles and keyboards. Photo by Charlene Winfred.

The Lazaroos have a great deal of respect for the Red Crowns system. They’re acutely aware of how much thought and work their caregivers, care coordinators, care managers, and Joshua (Red Crowns’ founder and CEO) himself puts into their and other residents’ care.

As Mr Lazaroo writes of Joshua:

“Actuated on an inspired motive to give care and attention to these elders, is indeed one, who deserves the highest respect for this undertaking and courage, which gives him my salute and support, which is second to none… He has made a great effort with his team of carers to ensure that all the [residents] are happy and given personal attention at all times.

“This undertaking is an inspiration and achievement for our nation.”

Redcrowns aims to help you live your senior years happily.
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Date Published
June 4, 2024
Charlene Winfred