Around the world in 50 days
February 25, 2006
IN Jules Verne’s famous novel, British inventor Phileas Fogg went around the world in 80 days. Pang Piow Kan did that in 50 days.
Journeying eastward from Penang and covering 16 cities in June and July last year, it was like a second honeymoon for the 60-year-old grandfather and his wife, Khoo Phaik Hoe, 55.
Their stops comprised Bangkok, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, New York, Prague, Budapest, Athens, Greek islands (Paros, Santorini and Crete) and Singapore.
But the best part of it all was that they did not have to pay a sen for their air tickets!
The retired motor oil exporter had won the Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) 2004 competition, beating 1,100 participants from 46 countries.
His prizes were two round-the-world air tickets worth RM30,000, Adobe Photoshop software costing RM9,000 and 2,000 British pounds sterling (nearly RM14,000) worth of shopping vouchers.
“Under the air tickets’ condition, we had to travel in one direction. We also had a choice of 18 airlines to select from.
“I took 60 rolls of film and came back with 2,000 photos.
“My favourite place was Greece where there were gorgeous scenes of white-washed houses in contrast with blue skies,” said the amateur photographer at his home in Taman Scotland, Penang.
His winning portfolio of 24 entries depicted idyllic images of Semporna in Sabah and Bali as well as exquisite shots of birds in Batu Kawan, Penang. TPOTY is an international photographic competition designed to find the very best in travel photography.
Pang is also an avid traveller who has covered 35 countries, including South Africa, India, China, Australia, Mauritius and nearly the whole of Europe.
The self-taught photographer is no stranger to winning some of the most prestigious international photography competitions.
He was voted Asian Photographer of the Year in 1993 by Photo Asia magazine and has the unprecedented distinction of being a five-time Overseas Chinese Photographer winner from 1995 to 1999.
The amazing part of his feats is that he has never used a digital camera before.
“I have invested RM40,000 in analogue cameras and related equipment. Thus, I don’t have any plans to switch to a digital one at all. Also, images taken by an analogue camera’s wide angle lens are better than those of digital ones,” claimed Pang.
He became interested in photography in 1983 when he bought his first professional camera, a Nikon F3, to take photos of his young children.
“A friend remarked that I had a high-end camera but my images were that of a pre-schooler. Stung by his criticism, I became resolute in proving him wrong and worked to improve my skills,” he added.
By NG SU-ANN