Yangchen C Rinzin 

Aum Lem puts the television on to watch the national day celebrations. His Majesty The King summons her son but he does not appear. The next few minutes seems like ages.

“The whole country was waiting. I was worried that he might have landed in trouble,” Aum Lem, also known as Karma Lhamo, says.

She is 80.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering is the second person in the history of the nation to be conferred a Lungmar scarf and the title of Dasho.

“That was one moment I was very proud as a mother of Lotay Tshering and my fear turned into excitement in a flip,” says Aum Lem with a smile. “I watched TV to witness national day celebration and the news came as a surprise.”

Aum Lem describes the moment as both happiness and worrying. “This recognition from His Majesty The King means added responsibility. Naturally, as a mother, I worry about my son.”

But then she knows her son is a hardworking man and will do well. “I know this because this is what defines him, always wanting to do something for the nation and King since he was a little boy. He has a big heart.”

Humble, helpful, intelligent, workaholic, hardworking, and passionate is what Lyonchhen’s friends, families, relatives, and office colleagues describe him as. He is loved and respected even by some members of the Opposition Party who think he really deserved the Lungmar.

His workaholic life has often kept him away from his families and friends.

It’s been many weeks Aum Lem hasn’t seen her son except on TV. “He’ll become busier now but I am used to it. He must do his work and I pray he does it well.”

Yesterday, Aum Lem could be with her son for a small family celebration.

Lyonchhen is known as a person who will give his 100 percent into what he does if it benefits the nation and people, is disciplined, never refuses people seeking help, and is always ready to work any time.

Lyonchhen’s long time friend and foreign minister, Dr Tandi Dorji, who was also his college mate, said that the recognition solidifies what he has done so far and testimony to his hard work.

His childhood friend, Thimphu Thrompon, Kinlay Dorjee, said the day when he realised that Lyonchhen was a kind man was the day when he got diarrhoea in 1989. They were college roommates. “Lyonchhen spent sleepless night tending to me. That was the day when I knew this man always does something for other people without hesitation.”

Kinlay Dorjee said among friends they always knew that Lyonchhen would become someone in life and this was already proven as doctor. “He is ever ready to work with full commitment, which many people do not know.”

Born in 1969, Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering, from Dalukha, Mewang gewog was recognised for his contribution in the medical field and was conferred with Druk Thuksey medal in 2017.

In 1991, Lyonchhen was also awarded the Father William Mackey Gold Medal for academic excellence in Sherubtse College.

He was awarded the unsung hero of compassion award by 14th Dalai Lama. 

After serving as a consultant urologist with national referral hospital for 11 years, he paid Nu 6.2 million in training obligation to the government to resign from the civil service and join politics in 2013.

The Lungmar scarf was awarded to Lyonchhen in appreciation of his dedication and for working tirelessly with greater concern for the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. Similar to the Bura Marp, the Lungmar is conferred in recognition of excellent services to the nation, and does not represent the wearer’s post.

Lyonchhen is known for its clear decision making that is based to benefit only for national interest, among his colleagues and people working with him in the Prime Minister’s Office. One of the colleagues shared that Lyonchhen always makes sure to research before making any decisions and hardworking is not even a question to ask.

“Even if the decision is for a longer term result, he always ensures the decision will benefit people and country. However, Lyonchhen do not have 9-5pm sense of working and spends his time more in the office where we’re unable to meet his expectations sometimes.”

Aum Lem who is sure his son would be busier from today, has only one hope that he eats his meal on time.

Speaking to Kuensel last night, Lyonchhen said: “As I accepted the honour, I made a commitment to myself and rededicated my life to the service of the Tsawa-Sum.”