I heard of the sad demise of Aum Rinsy Dem, wife of Lyonchen Jigme Yoezer Thinley, the day it happened in Bangkok, Thailand. I couldn’t believe it - so I called up one of her relatives and asked; “Is it true?”
The answer: “Yes”
The first time I met Aum Rinsy Dem was in 1978 when she came by my office in Phuentsholing. I think she had just finished her graduation. I vividly remember that she had accompanied her aunt, Aum Shekhar. I was then on deputation from the government to the private sector PPSF, Bhutan’s only factory then and since, producing textile shuttlecocks and pencil slats, out of Acer and Juniper wood.
As time went by she matured into a fine lady of class and elegance, with the bearings of a first lady. I remember her as an extremely gifted orator, a skill rivaled only by her husband.
One of the last times I met her was on 3rd March, 2010, when I went to photograph her husband, then the Prime Minister of Bhutan. Although extremely coy and shy in the presence of her husband of close to 30 years, she still insisted that she be photographed with her husband.
After the photo session, we went into her kitchen - where she served me thukpa.
May her soul rest in peace, and may God give her husband the strength to live out the loss and agony of life without her by his side.