Toronto, Ontario Apr 24, 2021 (Issuewire.com) – Set in the communities biased towards the status of success through pursuit of careers exclusively in STEM Fields or parameters of extended zeroes in one’s bank account. What happens when Hope Vale, an aspiring Vitiligo make-up artist wanting to eradicate the market of whitening products meets Spes Zrey, a misjudged arrogant Hugo-Boss awardee struggling to shape her Designer dream, as they envision reshaping Asia into the next Powerhouse of Fashion? Breaking the confinements of Gender and the stereotypes of preferred white beauty in Asia being demolished in the empire embracing the acceptance of all colours in its rightful glory, together, what happens when they end up falling for either’s hymns of struggles syncing the ambition of their dreams and setting the catalyst of each other’s igniting ‘hopes‘?
“People are variables, people change, people love, people feel, people betray, and people leave. Through the sea of people, all that mattered was treasuring those people whose presence reminded me that we aren’t just worth to be a ‘somebody‘, but we are indeed worth to be ‘us‘ defined by our own standards, outside the quantifying norms of the gender binary set by colonial construct.”
The book addresses the awareness of vitiligo, body positivity, struggles of youth having to choose between the career route of passion and stability, feminism, the prejudice of Co-Parenting and separation of Married Couples, and representation of LGBTQ+ in south-east Asian Communities in mainstream media. The idiom ‘Swan Song‘ rises from the folklore that narrates the most beautiful hymn of swans right before their death, rendering the stream of sounds they produce all their lives as subpar noises, in the line of creativity, what happens when our ‘swan song’ is sung way before our artistic flame is yet to be extinguished?
In a world defined by the worth and beauty of Humans, through the parameters of melanin our skin tone and gender, both subtle and obvious, personal and political. Rediscover the comfort of first love, sinking through the on-going journey of the importance of self-acceptance of individualism and the strength of feminism, through the chaotic yet passionate era of Youth breaking the stereotypes of the unstable pursuit of future in creativity wired into the adulthood of developing South-east Asian Community, as well as their roots that drive the very resilience of their ambitions.
” You are not an artist until your art is a fingerprint of your own individualistic style and creative force. Conceptualising my thoughts into art had been the easiest fitting way to succumb the train of thoughts barging through my limited mind space, since the beginning I had strayed my interest in capturing my works through the kaleidoscope of the perspectives of the conflicting array of emotions, humans had a presumed notion of running away from. Growing up in a Southeast Asian-developing country, we learn as girls that in ways both subtle and obvious, our value as females is largely determined by our physical parameters. The mass production and value of skin-whitening products looming over the society’s standardised expected perception of the definition of beauty, over generations will continue to sting and hinder the acceptance of the positive reflection of the worth of healthy skin and the liberty of proudly breathing in our natural shade of skin, like the sting of transparent moon jelly-fishes, whose appearance reminded me of nothing but the obsessed idolisation of the privileged white colour over any other shade of skin tone.”
Growing up as the oldest child among three daughters of recently separated Parents, who are excelling at co-parenting, Spes Zrey was known for her ambitious arrogance and unforgivable drive of competence towards her dreams, never letting anyone through true persona to battle against the facades of humans around her. As she tackles the constant blame of their Parents’ separation by her younger sibling and the aftermath of losing out on the funding of her final exhibition to snag the scholarship into her dream school, after walking out on her interview who was less interested in her works or being the youngest recipient of the Hugo Boss Award and more about her gender and image in the industry.
As we delve into the world of dreamers fighting for their dreams in Wau Bulan Arts High School, where passion is easily bought as bait of the prejudiced undermined future in this society. Spes rediscovers her love for art, beyond the confinements of the orthodox definitions of her ‘Swan Song‘ already being defined as beginner’s luck through the previous work. In a society defined by the notion of ‘growing up to be an adult‘, where it is deemed foolish to believe in dreams.
Youth is the fire that drives the passion and will that extinguished the flames of doubts to ignite the catalyst making our dreams exist in our reality. Youth is not just a phase. Youth is an era. To Spes, Life was a canvas portrayed by the colours that capture our moments, to paint the storyboard of our life, by the chances we take in our lives and since the very first moments, she was unexplainably hypnotised by the contralto voice range and regal creative force of Hope Vale. Yet, she couldn’t deny falling for Hope, whom the world confined her physical appearance in Vitiligo, was the most beautiful personification of the exquisite shades of brown, in Spes’ life painting the journey of their canvases, to redefine the ignition of their worth, beyond the predetermined slumps forecasted by their works reigning their ‘Swan Song‘.
Fighting through all odds for creating their own exhibition by funding it through sponsorship to get a chance into applying for a scholarship at their dream school: Parsons School Of Design by creating a name in Fashion Designing from their recognised background of fine arts and collaborating with Rene Fares, the youngest recipient of the Vincent Award, who wants to follow her father’s footsteps in creating her own empire through own righteous steps, to make the next Household empire for Fashion, that empowers the elegance of feminism, when the funding for their exhibition is denied by the Vice-Chancellor, who wants to destroy their pride for losing out on the marketing that would have boosted the reputation of the school, through the interviews that were selling their personal lives in the name of ‘image‘. As they face the hardships of being adamant to their hopes and belief in their work to follow the difficult path of building a concept that destroys the confinements of their past determined ‘swan song‘ as well the confined society that constantly undermines their desire of pursuing their future in creativity that is prejudiced to be risky and ‘an easy way from the realm of studies that excludes everything outside careers in STEM‘, to embrace being kind to themselves around each other outside their wretched reality of constant prejudices.
“This is our era. This is merely the beginning of our story. They can determine the ‘swan songs‘ of our works as much as they would want to, but I don’t want you to constantly chase the final storyboard. Just live in this moment with me. We are going to redefine the ‘swan songs of our era‘ by making it our beginning.” – Hope Vale
Well, this book isn’t a cliche romance. It is a romance but it is not a fairy tale. It is a real story of how love actually happens, how certain people can define your life, how when you find your people, it’s not about how alike you are but it is more on how much you balance each other. It is more like a plus and minus, that’s what makes life and love worth it and often, that’s how life works. And more often than not, unrequited love, or love which doesn’t end ‘happily ever after‘, is the best kind. Though not just focussed on love, the book enhances the same but in different relationships, between the mom and the daughter, between siblings, between friends, and more. This just proves that love doesn’t happen based on a set of guidelines, it’s just one moment that defines it. And we each have our own way of defining it and expressing it. As long as it makes sense to us, it’s worth waiting a lifetime for.
The target market is everyone who wants to escape reality as much as they stay in it. Everyone who wants to take a chance at love but is afraid to, or have found love but at the wrong time. The novel encourages every person to stand up for themselves and their dreams despite the curveball life throws at them. They may lose a lot while pursuing their dreams but what stays when you succeed, and what or who stays by your side, makes all the difference. And the message that it is okay, to fall in love, to choose your dreams, to choose yourself, to not care what society thinks and just go for it.
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