Pavle Radonic ~ Billboards Up To the Sky

Heartily sick, sick to the back teeth of these blast­ed Superdry sem­a­phores bear­ing down on every street and lane, whichev­er way you turn. A plague of dun­der­heads crawl­ing over the earth dis­play­ing their mem­ber­ship of the asso­ci­a­tion. Market pen­e­tra­tion to die for. The Superdrys would have to be up there with Starbs, Hard Rock & the HEART SG free­bies that orig­i­nate from the CCs National Day pre­sum­ably. (Memo: Ask Mr. Lim the PAP fruiter­er at his stall in the morn­ing.) Superdry what in flam­ing hell? Gin? Vodka? Everything dried super in the Tropics: put the wash­ing on the line, dry in a jiffy; fol­low­ing buck­et­ing rain one could walk over ground that had been water­logged an hour before; fish, shrimp dry­ing in the sun done to a crisp in the blink of an eye. What was this crud they were sport­ing in soft pas­tel pinks & yel­lows? Was there some sub­tle, sooth­ing reverse mass psy­chol­o­gy at work in the wet, steamy Tropics, 96% aver­age humid­i­ty? (No way was the author going to take the bait and click.) The cur­sive script always caught one off bal­ance and where there was more under­neath in fine it was invari­ably missed. Infuriating. The gal at the new gar­ment stall at the Haig the oth­er morn­ing was flum­moxed when quizzed about her own tee of a few days pre­vi­ous. The prod­uct on her tables was cheap China appar­el, blous­es, under­clothes &etc. WHATEVER YOU WANT she had promised one after­noon on her busty chest, swiv­el­ling this way and that as if she was Annie Oakley in a saloon, pis­tols loaded. Pretty young thing. Local it seemed hold­ing the fort for mum and dad.… Ah.You mean my top?…One before?…No, not for sale here, sor­ry. Bought out­side.… Not the sort to engage in a riff on the mat­ter of per­son­al emblems, cre­dos, mes­sag­ing what­not in this repub­lic. Never mind. A first: let it be record­ed. And great tease in more than the sex­u­al sense. A fair old encap­su­la­tion that of the cap­i­tal­ist lure in this per­fect storm of an island here. The new gen. Ayn Rand juniors might flock to it in com­ing months at the pop-ups in the lanes and along the river­bank. WHATEVER-YOU-WANT. Possibly it might crossover to the choof­fers and junkies fair chance, tat­tooed & pierced, and final­ly make it to film. You can get the lot, no stop­ping you, you deserve it. Whatever it is you may want. Great promise right across the globe. Andy Warhol pret­ty much. If you hap­pened to be a los­er, Well, FFF___ you Jack! Once again the guess would be LA or London. Could the design­ers in Tokyo, Seoul and HK be up to that kin­da snazzy speed with their cre­ole? Months past now Everything Is Amazing had been absent on the streets, nowhere to be seen. Blowjob Better Than No Job worn by the young Indo maid like a poor vic­tim in the stocks of old had been a oncer—never sight­ed more. Meanwhile, Superdry, Pull & Bear, Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch jerk-offs. Never once any men­tion, not the mer­est whis­per any­where in this clean­est city on the plan­et, this cel­e­brat­ed sin­gle-par­ty democracy/clan meritocracy/bastion of Western Imperialism where mos­qui­toes and rodents had been exter­mi­nat­ed, the host of Don & Jong-un—never a word about the visu­al filth assail­ing all and sundry from every cor­ner. The gov­ern­ment slo­ga­neer­ing dished up on the one hand every which way one turned; and on the oth­er all the gross mar­ket­ing and brand­ing. After a few weeks in the utter­ly oth­er land­scape of Yogyakarta the pupils were seri­ous­ly aching. Insufferable. Stomach churn­ing. (Sorry to gripe.)

Singapore 2011–2020


Pavle Radonic is an Australian author based the last few years in S‑E Asia, where—stranger than fiction—a role as an inter­preter of Islam has slow­ly devel­oped. An Honours grad­u­ate in English from La Trobe University (Melbourne), his work has appeared in a range of lit­er­ary jour­nals and mag­a­zines, Southerly, Wet Ink & ABC RN (Australia) and most recent­ly Big Bridge and Ambit.