Posted by: Juweon | May 21, 2009

Announcement Day on Hamo

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009…

Since that day, I have tried to think of a day in the previous 26 years that I have lived, that was actually bigger than May 6th, 2009.  I know a lot of people bring up their wedding day or the day their child was born as one of their biggest days but I’m not married and I don’t have a kid.  There was one other day in my life that was slightly bigger than “Announcement Day” but I really don’t remember it.  It was May 1st, 1983 – my birthday… the day you come into existence has to be bigger than a day that could possibly bring you a job that every living soul on the planet wants which could possibly shoot you into at least a C/B-list celebrity territory after the stint (if you play your cards right) and an A-list celebrity locally for at least 6-months guaranteed right?

For such a big day, I was extremely calm and confident of where I stood in the overall outlook of the Best Job application process.  I stayed up the previous night putting together my presentation “portfolio” consisting of:

  1. MOUs from Korea’s top 2 travel package wholesalers – Lotte Tour and Mode Tour
  2. the letter of support from the College of Natural Sciences of The University of Texas at Austin
  3. the signed MOU of my scholarship development plan from the “potential faculty advisor” of the program in the Government Department of The University of Texas (which actually arrived the day I got to Hamo)
  4. the signed MOU of my scholarship development plan for Judson High School in San Antonio, Texas which came in the email through PDF format on the morning of the 6th.
  5. my financial analysis of my media exposure from the day the final 16 were announced to April 29th – which equalled $1,324,062.85 AUD.  $1.3 MILLION AUD worth of PR in less than a month with none of the major Korean TV stations jumping on the story…
  6. my business and other venture ideas of expanding the role of tourism for the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island and Queensland in general.

Simply put, the portfolio consisted of the effect my campaign has had for TQ and my ideas of how to turn that exposure into real DOLLARS for TQ and expanding the exposure beyond the tourism industry into fields like education, corporate sponsorships from global companies both in Korea & abroad, philantrophy and etc.  I think I was the only candidate to actually use the business center at the Reef View Hotel to actually print out business documents.  So armed with my portfolio in hand, I felt that I was as prepared as I could be to make my 20 minute pitch.  Like TQ had been stressing all this time, it WAS a job interview first and foremost.

After my 20 minute interview, I felt even better.  I thought my interview went extremely well and it kind of went opposite of what the other candidates that had already gone told me.  Ben Southall for example, told me that he didn’t have much of an opportunity to talk about the things that he prepared or wanted to talk about, but for me, the selection panel just let me give my presentation and they seemed receptive to my ideas or at least seemed to look very positively on the effort that I showed with my portfolio & the ideas in it.

All of the candidates were given about an hour of down time between the morning activities and the final call for “the Announcement.”  Some actually chose to go kayaking and swimming while others stuck around the “Outrigger” (our base of operation) chit chatting and preparing themselves for the big moment.  Come to think of it, I didn’t even wet my toes in the pools at Hamo other than for the swimming test on the first day and I never felt the waves on the beach during my 4 days there… that’s how busy our schedule was.  During that one hour down time, I chose to snap a couple of photos, rush back to my hotel room and put up a quick photo blog.

A little past 3pm, due to a satellite feed problem from Reuters, Premier Anna Bligh came up to the podium and made the announcement.  Funny thing, Magali and I actually knew who the winner would be about 40 seconds before the Premier read the name out loud.  When the Premier flipped over to the last page of her speech, she still had to read about half a paragraph more, but on the bottom of the page, in GREAT BIG BOLD LETTERS, read “From the United Kingdom, Ben Southall.”  Magali and I both saw it at the same time and we both looked at each other and had an “OMG” moment.  I’m sure we weren’t the only candidates to have seen the name.  James actually told me that he “saw” it but didn’t want to “read” it and turned away from it.  If you watch the video feed of the announcement on the media outlet websites, you can kind of tell who saw it and who didn’t, but the one person who didn’t see it for sure was Ben.

if he knew beforehand and then showed this reaction, he needs to be in Hollywood, no on Hamo

If he knew beforehand and then showed this reaction, he needs to be in Hollywood, not on Hamo.

Maybe it was the 40 second of extra processing  time I had to digest the final results, but when Ben’s name was called, contrary to what I thought I would feel, I felt extremely and genuinely happy for Ben and for some strange reason, I couldn’t find an ounce of disappointment for myself, even after trying to search for some sort of a sad reaction within me.  I think it’s because despite the outcome, I honestly feel that I came out a “winner” from this entire process.  There’s just so much that I’ve gained from this to be bitter or sour about anything.  I’ll elaborate on this feeling in more detail in my “final analysis” entry which is coming up.

After the announcement, everyone went back to the hotel, except Ben, and got ready for the “final dinner & party.”  That video is coming up soon… I promise.

It was actually REALLY good to see everyone kind of just let loose that night and have some genuine fun without the fear of being assessed or showing our best TV smile for the cameras, but truthfully there weren’t any real significant differences in the way people behaved.  I think most of us were truly genuine whether there was a camera in front of us or not and that was AWESOME to see.



  1. Ha! Cool to know you guys got a sneak peek.

    I love the painting idea, that really is a treasure.

    Ben’s face is absolutely hilarious there XD

    WOW you were super prepared!

    • I tried to be as prepared as I could be but I guess it wasn’t enough at the end. I’m having trouble with Pt II of the video with the audio/vid sync but make sure the check back to see the 2nd half, that’s if you haven’t already seen it.

  2. Jon – Regardless of the outcome, I still feel you would have been the best island caretaker (FWIW).

    In the end, one can only guess at the kind of person, qualifications and ideas that TQ is/was looking for.

    I read somewhere that TQ is thinking of making this an annual event … Lord knows if I’d be up for that kind of emotional turmoil again, but basing what I saw from the first go-round, TQ is definitely looking for someone in the younger crowd.

    I really enjoyed your Hamo updates and know that it was a huge undertaking, with the schedule y’all were under … so THANKS! I tried to plug you as much as I could, but maybe that was the KOD rather than a help? :p (Kind of like washing a car and hoping it doesn’t rain).

    I hope you continue to blog and if you EVER come to Vancouver (or Vancouver Island), I’d for sure be hugely disappointed if you didn’t call. I’d really enjoy meeting you IRL.

    It’ll be interesting to follow “It’s Ben!” and see if it positively affects the bottom line for Tourism Queensland (honestly think there are larger, overriding factors that are already in play that guarantees numbers will be down), but who knows?

    Best of luck to you! See you around the ‘net.


  3. Hey, Juweon! You remember your wp-mate, cyworld ilchon, me, huh? ^_^
    I’ve just read your post. I came by to see what happened to your “dream job”. Since I closed cyworld account, I had no idea with Korean celebrities. So the final result came out earlier than I thought…?!
    Even if you didn’t make the final winner, Still ” Congratulations!!!”. All the process up to here you experienced, that itself is so special. Through your post I can tell what you felt that day were something not many people can feel easily. That’s a gift! I know through those special feelings you experienced that day and during its entire journey up to that moment, you will grow more. It will somehow always guide you to be better and to something more meaningful. I am proud of you. I know a lot of new opportunities will come to you. Embrace them like you did for this “dream job” and I think that process itself is the “dream job”.

    Stay in touch,



    p.s. Say “Hi!” to Isak! ^_^, Congratulations again!

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