The Monocle Minute

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Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Monday 31 October 2016

Image: Sam Yeh/Getty Images

One republic?

Hung Hsiu-chu landed in Nanjing yesterday for her first visit to China as the chairwoman of the Taiwanese Kuomintang party. During her rendezvous with president Xi Jinping tomorrow all eyes and ears will be on her stance on the disputed 1992 Consensus, denoting that the People’s Republic of China and Republic of China in Taiwan belong to “one China”. Strengthening the accord is crucial to developing peaceful cross-strait relations, which have been challenged since the Tsai administration took office. After cementing his power at last week’s communist party plenum, Xi is likely to translate his strongman politics into foreign policy as well as keep the threat of Taiwanese independence in check.

Image: Hufton+Crow

In the frame

The Royal Institute of British Architects (Riba) announced the shortlist of their inaugural International Prize last Thursday. Whittled down from a long list of 30 buildings from five continents, the six shortlist nominees include an austere contemporary-arts centre on the Azores archipelago by Menos é Mais Arquitectos and João Mendes Ribeiro, David Chipperfield’s Museo Jumex in Mexico City and Phillippe Prost’s poignant First World War memorial, The Ring of Remembrance near Arras in France. As the first Riba prize to look outside the UK, the winner – to be announced on Thursday 24 November – will evoke the best demonstration of “visionary, innovative thinking” while “making a distinct contribution to its users and physical context”.

Image: Alamy

Lesson in manners

Pickpocketing, fare-dodging and assaults are problems that you might expect on the mass-transit system of a major metropolis. But in Tokyo – a city with efficient trains and law-abiding commuters – it’s the breaches of etiquette that rile passengers: speaking loudly, applying make-up, manspreading or listening to loud music. To get people to mind their manners, railway operator Tokyu Corporation recently released four videos featuring a young woman who vents her annoyance at bad behaviour on the train. In one that’s been viewed online more than 135,000 times, she sings mittomonai (ugly to see) and dances in front of women applying lipstick and mascara. Reactions to the video have been divided. “Many people thanked us for raising awareness but some called our word choice offensive,” says Tokyu spokesman Yasuhiko Toki. “We remind people about manners so often that it becomes background noise. The reactions so far suggest that people are paying attention.”

Image: Tate

A date with Tate

Tate has recently announced that Michael Wellen will join London’s contemporary-art institution by the Thames as the new curator of international art come December. Wellen may be in for a frosty surprise – but only weatherwise – when he arrives in wintry England after having spent the past five years as the assistant curator of Latin American and Latino art at the Museum of Fine Arts in sunny Houston, Texas. With his level of experience Wellen will be able to encourage the representation of Latin American art in Tate Modern’s exhibition programme and the museum’s collections. If his past acclaimed shows such as Antonio Berni: Juanito and Ramona and Contingent Beauty: Contemporary Art from Latin America are anything to go by, there’s plenty to look forward to.

From Monocle 24

Ravinder Bhogal’s Jikoni

The award-winning food writer and broadcaster Ravinder Bhogal has opened her first London restaurant in Marylebone. We reserve a table at Jikoni.

From Monocle Films

Taipei retail

Taipei has long lived in the shadow of its glitzier neighbours when it comes to retail. But now the range and quality of products on offer are firming up the Taiwanese capital’s place on Asia’s shopping map.

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