UTAR alumnus received multiple awards and recognitions

Lee displaying his awards and recognitions

Motivated by his passion for book writing and photography, alumnus Lee Ching Kai seized every opportunity presented to participate in various photography awards and book awards contests for self-development and to further improve his skills. As a result, his effort and time were rewarded, when the Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) Accounting graduate received an overall of 26 awards and recognitions. He also received award certificates, award badges, medals, international recognition, publication in magazines, exhibitions, press & exposure, and publication in online winners’ gallery.

“I participated in the contests because I wanted to discern my level in photography and book writing by comparing my works with worldwide contestants. When I won the competitions, I felt excited, and it is my great honour to have won 26 awards and recognitions in less than one year during this pandemic. Throughout my photography journey which spans less than three years, I have learnt a lot from the worldwide competitions. The same thing goes to my book writing journey, as I have learnt so much from authors across the globe,” enthused Lee.

He added, “An award-winning photograph ought to have excellent technical brilliance and creativity. As for the book awards, a book should contain solid messages and strong narratives to win. The competitions contained strict rules and criteria. In order to win, every contestant must abide by them. Violation of even a single rule will cause the entries to be disqualified. Therefore, I have learnt how to be meticulous and disciplined, and these are the values I can utilise in my accountancy career. These awards have also trained me to have sharp eyes and careful observations. This, in turn, helps me in my accountancy career, which is helpful to the accountancy industry. Also, I have been a freelance photographer, engaging in commercial photography and wedding photography.”

Lee, who is currently pursuing ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountant) qualification also said, “The Accounting subjects I learnt at UTAR have trained me to become meticulous and the soft skills workshops that I attended in UTAR helped me in terms of creativity, striving for knowledge, and thinking out of the box. Being a part of event committees in UTAR has helped me broaden my horizon too. Photography and book writing are my hobbies, and I wish to supplement and enrich my life with these interesting passions. Some UTAR lecturers that I know have encouraged me to pursue these hobbies, and I truly appreciate their words.”

Here are the awards and recognitions Lee received:

Photography awards contests’ awards and recognitions

1. International Photography Awards (IPA) 2020 (USA) – 3rd Place & 2 Honourable Mentions
2. San Francisco Bay International Photography Awards 2020 (USA) - Gold Award & Gallery Award
3. Minimalist Photography Awards 2020 (Germany) – Honourable Mention
4. ND Awards 2020 (UK) – 3 Honourable Mentions
5. Still Awards 2020 (Ireland) – 1st Place Best Altered Photo 2020
6. Chromatic Awards 2020 (UK) – 2 Honourable Mentions
7. Monochrome Awards 2020 (UK) – 4 Honourable Mentions 
8. APA Annual Photography Awards 2020 (UK) – 2 Honourable Mentions 
9. Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA) 2021 (UK) – 4 Nominees

Book awards contests’ awards and recognitions:

1. Florida Authors & Publishers Association (FAPA) President’s Book Awards 2020 (USA) – Bronze Medal
2. Eyelands International Awards’ Three Rock Writers’ Resort Residency Program 2020 (Greece) – Winner
3. Eyelands Book Awards (EBA) 2020 (Greece) – Finalist
4. Strands International Flash Fiction Competition 2020 (India) – Shortlist

Award-winning photos

Lee’s award-winning photo “Fusion of Martial Art and Nature”

The series focuses on the fusion of taekwondo movements and nature. He utilised several movements of taekwondo to depict nature and illustrate how a person can grow, just like how a plant can grow from a seed to a tree with flowers. He wanted viewers to deeply feel the connection and correlation between martial art and nature, and to see the aesthetic side of the art.

Lee’s award-winning photo “Montage of Seascape”

Lee wanted the viewers to see the eloquent beauty of art when age-worn things coalesce creatively. “When I clicked the shutter button, I could imagine its marvel if I digitally enhance those items, subtracting other distractions, and producing an all the more seamless and abstract seascape image, like a sailor traversing the beautiful sea,” explained Lee.

Lee’s award-winning photos “Multi-angled, Multi-opacity, 360-degree Tree”

This series is a group of photographs that were made by combining the tree that was captured from at least eight angles, and some go up to fifteen angles. “I combined the different facets of the tree with various opacity, and digitally enhanced them to produce the multi-angled, multi-opacity, 360-degree tree in an artistic and aesthetic way. I want the viewers to feel the essence of art when it is played around and see the eloquent beauty of the trees when discerned from multiple perspectives. Similarly, if we view our lives from multiple perspectives, we might see wonders, and there is more than what meets the eye. When I clicked the shutter button, I could imagine the marvel if I combined the different angles of the trees together, producing all the more creative and aesthetic images,” said Lee.

Lee’s award-winning photos “Singing Bird”

The photo depicts that the bank is clothed in verdure, but it is the bird, singing loudly upon the rock on the surface of the river, that catches the eye.

Lee’s award-winning photo “The Pains of Phobic Fear”

This conceptual image is photographed to convey the idea that phobias are often so painful that one does not want to see the trigger. This image signifies that a person with a phobia would rather dig their eyes out and become blind than see things that trigger their phobias. “The horrifying-looking tool in my hand is actually a tower tall as a two-storied building photographed in Kampar, Malaysia. When I saw this tower, the idea flashed into my mind, and I want the viewers to deeply feel and see such eloquent message broaching the concept of the pains of phobic fear,” said Lee.

Lee’s award-winning photo “The Forgotten History”

The series focuses on the historical windows photographed at the 120-year-old Concubine Lanes in my country. “I used the concept of the cracked, burnt windows to convey the fact that the history of famous places are being gradually forgotten as modernisation transpires. The Concubine Lanes are the most famous lanes in Ipoh. When I clicked the shutter button, the intention in my mind is to deliver the eloquent message that many traditions and histories of places are being consigned to oblivion, and how good it will be if we can remember those histories that have made these places beautiful,” commented Lee.

From left: Lee’s award-winning books “The Red Eyes”, “Crusades of Wizardry” and “Era of New Solstice

Lee’s award certificates and badges

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