The Monocle Minute

Today’s top stories, opinion and opportunities
Wednesday 29 November 2017

Media

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Conversation stopper

New Zealand media groups have received complaints about reporters’ ‘bad’ language – but there’s not a swear word to be heard.

Kiwi news presenters have had a backlash – not for their reports but for the language they’re delivering them in. A handful of radio and television presenters have been peppering their reports with Maori words, which has prompted complaints from audiences and commentators. So what exactly is the problem? Tova O’Brien, Newshub’s Europe correspondent, says that the backlash is down to “a very small handful” of mostly older citizens who are keen to “bang the race drum”. New Zealand has been grappling with intolerance recently: Winston Peters, a politician of Maori descent, ran on an anti-immigration platform and won enough votes to become deputy prime minister in the last election. Still, O’Brien says anti-Maori sentiments are largely a thing of the past and most people are happy to hear one of New Zealand’s official languages. “If anything we need to be speaking it more,” she says.

Travel

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Winging it

Kuala Lumpur’s airport is incorporating a few extra checkpoints to catch indebted Malaysians.

While cities such as Bangkok and Singapore are installing automated check-in systems at their airports to facilitate the flow of traffic through immigration checkpoints, Malaysia is more worried about keeping certain citizens back. More specifically it wants to keep in the 790,186 Malaysians who have defaulted on payments to government bodies, including the National Higher Education Fund and Inland Revenue Board. Those in the red have been blacklisted and will be barred from leaving the country. Malaysians are therefore being advised to check their debts at kiosks dotted around Kuala Lumpur International Airport and resolve them before they check-in for their flight. By keeping people who will hold up check-in out of the queues, authorities are hoping to speed up the lines for everyone else.

Culture

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Victoria, Albert and Shenzhen

The Chinese city is playing host to a major London museum. Will it prove to be a masterstroke?

Bigwigs from the Victoria & Albert Museum are gathering in Shenzhen this week for the opening of the Design Society. This new waterfront cultural complex, a short taxi or ferry ride from Hong Kong, was designed by veteran Japanese architect Fumihiko Maki and features the V&A’s first gallery outside the UK. It is the result of a partnership with state-owned enterprise China Merchants Group and the title exhibition features more than 250 objects from the permanent collection. Bringing the venerable London institution to Shenzhen is part of the southern Chinese city’s grand plan to promote itself as a city of design rather than the factory of the world. It’s becoming a well-trodden formula, following in the footsteps of the Louvre, which has also recently opened an art museum in Abu Dhabi (read more in The Forecast, on shelves 14 December).

Aviation

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Airline seeks high-flyers

Air Canada’s ‘retreat’ suite – complete with restaurant, concierge and cocktails – reveals its lofty ambitions.

Air Canada continued its push into the premium end of the business-travel sector yesterday with the launch of a new lounge concept. The Signature Suite in Air Canada’s global hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport, which will open to the public on 1 December, is billed as a “retreat” for full-fare paying business customers. (Air Canada is also a client of Monocle’s sister company, Wink.) It boasts a full-service restaurant featuring menus devised by the chef David Hawksworth, a tailored concierge service and a cocktail lounge, all designed by the Montréal-based firm Heekyung Duquette. “We have been investing heavily for a number of years to position our airline as top in class; the best in North America,” says Ben Smith, Air Canada’s Passenger Airlines president. “We’re seeing these investments pay off in a bigger, better way than we expected. We want to continue to position our product ahead of all North American carriers so we can get a disproportionately high number of premium customers to fly on Air Canada.”

From Monocle 24

Image: Alamy

Food Neighbourhoods 62: Melbourne, Smith Street

The Menu

A tour through Melbourne’s Smith Street, populated with a lively mix of adventurous eateries, bars and cafés.

From Monocle Films

Made in London

Globes, spoons and weaving: Monocle films drops in on three makers helping to reinvigorate the British capital’s artisanal heartbeat.

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