Righting Wongs

Dropped stitches in knitting are mistakes; they create gaps and destroy the integrity of a garment. And if they aren’t fixed when noticed, dropped stitches will unravel, producing more problems than solutions. Christina Wong used this metaphor of knitted mistakes in her performance of “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” at Rockefeller Chapel this past Friday, drawing attention to the climbing rates of suicide and depression among Asian women in the United States.

Employing, as the East Bay Express and Associated Press describe, her “brutal, but hilarious” and “raucous and irreverent” humor, Wong engaged the crowd in trying to answer the essential questions, “Why are we so depressed? And killing ourselves?” And by confronting the issue explicitly, Wong did something American society hasn’t been able do: identify these dropped stitches in society, unravel the statistics, and redo the stitch correctly. Though Wong rhetorically joked that she, “Christina Wong, would solve all of our problems” through the merits of her own creative work, she admitted that in some ways, the issue of mental health is so diffuse and diverse even with this distinct group that perhaps a solution may be difficult to find.

In fact, as she ended her performance, revealing that her own character had only been pretending to be sane throughout the play and shedding her clothes down to a hospital smock, Wong alluded to the possibility that perhaps what American society believes to be a perfect stitch has been a dropped one all along.