Guangzhou executive gets a shot at 'best job in the world'

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 April, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 April, 2009, 12:00am

Yi Yao intentionally left his mobile phone on the whole evening because he was waiting for a very important call, which was supposed to reach him before 7am yesterday.

He knew if he received the call before 7am, he would meet Clare Wang, of Taiwan, and the other 13 finalists on Hamilton Island, Australia, to compete for the 'best job in the world'.

Waiting proved to be difficult. 'Although I said I would have a good sleep, it turned out to be impossible. I woke up. It was 5.50am. The sky was still dark. I tried to sleep again, but I couldn't fall asleep any more. Time passed, minute by minute, 6.13, 6.26 ... the phone was still not ringing,' Mr Yi wrote in his blog.

'My name starts with a Y, so it was natural for them not to call me first when they have 15 phone calls to make, and if they spend four minutes on each one of us, dialling the number alone will take around one minute, leaving them only three minutes to congratulate each of the finalists.'

At 6.48am, his phone rang. Mr Yi, an executive with a multinational firm in Guangzhou, will compete for the job of caretaker on an island in the Great Barrier Reef.

The Queensland Tourist Ministry, which is running the competition, originally said Ms Wang would join 10 other finalists, but raised the number to 15 to ensure it would get the best person for the best job.

'The final short-listed applicants come from 15 countries, range in age from 20 to 38, comprise 10 men and six women, and include students, journalists, TV presenters, photographers, a receptionist, radio DJ, teacher, charity event manager and an actress,' Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor said.

The job, which starts on July 1, pays A$150,000 (HK$822,000) for six months and includes free air tickets from the winner's home country to Hamilton Island, known for its white sand and clear waters.

In return, the winner will be expected to have as much fun as possible, soaking up the sun, swimming, snorkelling and sailing, and to report to the world via weekly blogs, photo diaries and video updates. But to land the best job in the world, contestants will have to make videos, write an essay and lobby the world to vote for them.

A total of 34,684 applicants from about 200 countries entered the contest, with 500 from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

'I was too excited to go back to sleep after receiving the call,' Mr Yi said. 'So I am rather dizzy now and too tired to think what I should do to prepare for the final showdown.'