The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Thursday 26 November 2015

Image: Tim Sackton

Mixed message

General confidence in government is at historically low levels according to a new poll from the Washington-based Pew Research Center that was released this week: just 19 per cent of the 6,000 surveyed said they trust the government always or most of the time. Despite the obvious Republican-Democrat divide among those polled – namely on big versus small government – the survey doesn’t throw up easy answers. “The [public’s] general view of government tends to trigger negativity,” says Carroll Doherty, Pew’s director of political research. “But if you shift the frame and ask about the specifics, you get a very different perception.” The survey also found that many Americans are happy with leaders taking strong stances on issues ranging from terrorism to disaster response.

Image: Reuters

Mistaken identity

If you’re out to hurl eggs in political protest it’s good practice to brush up on your flags beforehand. The Dutch Consulate on Istanbul’s central Istiklal Caddesi has been the subject of ire in recent weeks as protestors have mistakenly gathered outside its gates believing they were socking one to Russia: the Dutch tricolour goes red-white-blue, the Russian white-blue-red and the consulates are just down the road from each other. Even prior to the downing of a Russian military jet by Turkish forces on 24 November, tensions between the two countries were running high: Russian airstrikes in Turkmen-populated areas of Syria have stoked much pan-Turkic resentment in the country. This is not the first time that Istanbul’s nationalists have got it wrong: when they were protesting China’s policy towards its Uighur Muslims over the summer, a group of South Korean tourists bore some of the brunt.

Image: Alamy

Art boom

This week art-lovers and the culturally curious have begun flocking to an old warehouse in South Jakarta to catch Indonesia’s most exciting art prospects. While the setting for the 16th Jakarta Biennale is raw, the art on show is refined, reflecting a burgeoning Indonesian scene. “Over the past five years we’ve seen artists creating a very dynamic scene across the country, which an international audience is able to view here in Jakarta,” says Ade Darmawan, the event’s executive director. While Jakarta remains Indonesia’s business capital, it’s the nation’s second-tier cities that form its best destinations for art. Bandung and Yogyakarta, home to the acclaimed Art Fair Jogja, are currently battling it out to be the country’s creative capital. However, further-flung art hubs are emerging too. “We’re showcasing artists from Surabaya in East Java to tiny islands outside Salawati in West Papua,” adds Darmawan.

Image: Alamy

Opening up

With about 12,000 hectares of green space, New York is a city that revels in its parks – but there is always room for improvement. In an effort to make its green spaces more open and welcoming, NYC Parks has launched Parks Without Borders, a design project that will seamlessly connect parks with the city’s streets. It will focus on both the design and landscaping around the outer edges of the parks and will see the removal of fences to create more open areas. “This initiative flows from the idea that the public realm should be a unified space,” says NYC Parks commissioner Mitchell J Silver. An added bonus is that by opening up the parks’ perimeters, visibility will improve and, with it, safety.

From Monocle 24

Image: Courier

Modern business in the media

Soheb Panja and Jeff Taylor share the business model of their media brand Courier, a London-based quarterly publication covering stories of modern business.

From Monocle Films

Bean and gone: Tokyo cafés

Look past the dominance of the big chains in Tokyo and you will find a world of fiercely independent coffee shops. Monocle’s Fiona Wilson pays tribute.

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