Voice of rea­son on for­eign soil

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - NEWS - ByDeb­bieSchipp

SHE’S the break­out star of Chan­nel Nine’s fac­tual re­al­ity se­ries The Em­bassy, but Trudy McGowan’s time as First Sec­re­tary and Con­sul in the Aus­tralian em­bassy in Bangkok is almost up.

Aus­tralian staff can spend only three years at each over­seas post­ing, so McGowan’s ten­ure will end early in 2015. Which means view­ers should soak up her forth­right wis­dom and cool, witty sum­ma­tions as the show ends its first run.

McGowan has en­joyed see­ing the em­bassy’s work show­cased on tele­vi­sion – although she and her col­leagues ini­tially weren’t the big­gest help in iden­ti­fy­ing sto­ries.

“We’d deal with some­thing we see as rou­tine, and at the end of the day one of the film crew would say, ‘Why didn’t you tell us that?’,” McGowan laughs.

McGowan hopes Aussies have learned a few vi­tal points from watch­ing the show – in­clud­ing what an em­bassy can and can’t do for Aussies in trou­ble.

“There’s no magic money bag. A lot of our job is help­ing peo­ple help them­selves,” she says.

“We can be the cool voice of logic, but we also need a good bull­shit antenna – ab­so­lutely – it only takes two or three weeks in Bangkok be­fore that’s de­vel­oped.”

Tonight’s episode fea­tures the Em­bassy’s Aus­tralia Day party, but McGowan says th­ese events are the ex­cep­tion, not the rule.

“The re­al­ity isn’t cock­tail par­ties. There is way less schmooz­ing than peo­ple think,” she says.

Her ad­vice to Aussie tourists in Thai­land?

“Don’t do things on hol­i­days that you would not do at home,” she says.

“Don’t think you can ride a mo­tor­bike with­out a hel­met or a li­cence, or stop tak­ing the med­i­ca­tion you al­ways take at home.”

Straight shooter: Trudy McGowan.

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