Monday 1 August 2016 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 1/8/2016

The Monocle Minute

Image: Getty Images

Takes two Tsangs to tango

As the lengthy process to replace president Obama lumbers on, Hong Kong could be in for its own extended period of political gamesmanship. The city’s next chief executive won’t be appointed until March next year (by committee rather than elections) but two serious contenders have committed to run, albeit half-heartedly. “If no one else comes forward to challenge the current chief executive then I will consider it seriously,” said Jasper Tsang, the well-regarded outgoing president of the legislative council. Tsang – who turns 70 next year – spoke to Monocle the day before current financial secretary John Tsang (no relation) made an equally lukewarm statement about running. As intrigue in Hong Kong hots up, it is worth remembering that former New York mayor and septuagenarian Michael Bloomberg said similar things about challenging Donald Trump.

Image: Getty Images

Game of thrones?

Sometime in early August, Japan’s Emperor Akihito is expected to address the nation in his first-ever live TV broadcast. Given the media reports in mid-July about the 82-year-old emperor’s desire to abdicate, you might think he’s planning to formally announce that he will step down after 27 years on the Chrysanthemum Throne. No chance: the constitution won't allow it and the emperor can’t weigh in on government matters by asking members of parliament for a revision. So what to expect from the historic TV speech? The emperor might mention his frailty and the increasing cutbacks on his official duties since 2009 – and then let public opinion and government officials decide that his retirement isn’t such a bad idea.

Image: PA Images

After Rio

The torch has arrived and the athletes have touched down in Rio de Janeiro as the world prepares for the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday. It’s been far from a smooth ride amid accusations of corruption and cut corners, while athletes have recently complained about the infrastructure of the Olympic Village and the pollution of the bay. Meanwhile, Brazil still finds itself embroiled in political and economic turmoil. True, the criticism may wane once the Games begin and the medals start to stack up but after the closing ceremony takes place, Rio will have to contend with its Olympic legacy – or, perhaps, its lack of one. So what lessons can future hosts of the Games learn from Rio’s troubles? Kathryn Firth, chief of design at the London Legacy Development Corporation for the 2012 Games, says: “London did it better than most by having a legacy master plan alongside the actual plan for the Games.” She says that any planning committee should keep the Olympic legacy as its first priority. After all, “legacy is forever, the games are not”.

Image: Martin Child/Getty Images

Open for business

While many are putting plans on ice in London, so far the museum world is shaking off the Brexit gloom with a typically long-sighted shrug. This summer the city has seen the opening of the new Tate Modern extension by Herzog & de Meuron and now the Museum of London has taken another step forward with its ambitions to move to a vast new building in West Smithfield, on the edge of the City. It’s just been revealed that Stanton Williams and Asif Khan will be the lead architects if everything gets the green light. Meanwhile, across town, the new Design Museum is nearing completion by architect John Pawson (we think this will be a winner). At a time when the city feels threatened by becoming a bit of an inward-looking little Britain, it’s great that these institutions are telling positive, engaging stories and showing that London will beat this setback.

Eureka: Lyn Harris

Eureka is a weekly spotlight on business origins brought to you by the team behind The Entrepreneurs and presented by Monocle’s Daniel Giacopelli. In this episode Lyn Harris talks about early inspirations, her experience learning the art of fragrance in Paris and how she created successful brands Miller Harris and Perfumer H.

Property prospectus: Kreis 4

Once a seedy neighbourhood with an air of debauchery, Zürich’s Kreis 4 is now a shiny hub of creativity. Monocle Films pays a visit to the district to discover what all the fuss is about.


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