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Briton 'bungee jumps' into the 'best job in the world'

[ 2009-05-07 10:23]     字号 [] [] []  
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There are far more cushy jobs with fatter paychecks. But none qualify as the "best job in the world". And that has gone to a bungee-jumping, ostrich-riding British charity worker.

Ben Southall, 34, of Petersfield, was yesterday named the winner of what has been dubbed the "best job in the world": a six-month contract to serve as caretaker of a tropical Australian island.

Southall beat out nearly 35,000 applicants from around the world for the dream assignment to swim, explore and relax on Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef while writing a blog to promote the area.

Among those Southall beat for the job were two Chinese candidates, who made it to the last 16.

He was selected for the $111,000 assignment by officials of Queensland state's tourism department.

Southall and 15 other finalists spent four days on the island enduring an extended interview process, which required them to snorkel through crystalline waters, gorge themselves at a beach side barbecue and relax at a spa. The finalists also had to demonstrate their blogging abilities, take swimming tests and sit through in-person interviews.

"It was quite traumatic today because we've just grown to love all of them, so to actually have to choose one was just dreadful," Tourism Queensland CEO Anthony Hayes said with an exhausted sigh after the announcement.

"I think we picked the right one, though. He's the most fabulous guy and his people skills are just outstanding."

The job is part of a $1.26-million tourism campaign to publicize the charms of northeastern Queensland. Officials say it has already generated more than $81.5 million worth of publicity for the region. It quickly became a viral marketing hit, spreading across the globe through YouTube and social networking sites such as Facebook.

"I hope I can sell the reef as much as everybody is expecting," a stunned-looking Southall said after he was crowned the winner and embraced by his competitors at a ceremony on Hamilton Island.

"My swimming hopefully is up to standard."

Southall once worked as a tour guide in Africa, but most recently has worked as a charity fundraiser. In his application video, he expressed a love for adventure, and featured photographs of himself riding an ostrich, running a marathon, scuba diving and kissing a giraffe.

He starts "work" on July 1 and will live for free in an airy, three-bedroom oceanfront villa with a private pool and sweeping views of the surrounding islands. He plans to bring his Canadian girlfriend with him to the island for the duration of the job.

One of the last 16 contestants, Yao Yi, a 30-year-old project manager from Guangzhou, said: "I have no regrets, I've done my best". He told China Daily that he "had the best time of my life after I applied for the job".

"I was happy with my performance in the final selection process (but) Ben deserved to win. He is really outgoing and extremely good with the media," Yao said.

The other Chinese candidate was Clair Wang from Taiwan. The skydiving, mountain-climbing interpreter was a "wild card" entry from 50 short-listed candidates on public choice. She received over 150,000 votes, almost three times as many as her nearest competitor.

(英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Briton 'bungee jumps' into the 'best job in the world'

About the broadcaster:

Briton 'bungee jumps' into the 'best job in the world'

Nancy Matos is a foreign expert at China Daily Website. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, Nancy is a graduate of the Broadcast Journalism and Media program at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her journalism career in broadcast and print has taken her around the world from New York to Portugal and now Beijing. Nancy is happy to make the move to China and join the China Daily team.