In Wave Makers, Wen Fang and Ya Ching mesmerized me in a way that I haven’t experienced in a very long time. Two powerful, flawed women coping with life’s challenges, one by giving up hope in the system and the other by attempting to comprehend how it functions. Let’s take a closer look at them and attempt to comprehend how they managed to survive in a hostile environment.
Why Did Weng Wen Fang Finally Apologize?
I could appreciate Wen Fang’s irate rage when she refused to apologize to the man in order to win the election. She was the victim; her girlfriend was the aggressor, and she had to endure hearing inebriated homophobic obscenities directed at them both. Although she had every right to be upset, we did wonder why she was acting so uppity and righteous in her outrage. Just to avoid the apology, she was willing to let go of the election. It appeared to be an excessive price to pay. But then it occurred to us that Wen Fang wasn’t only up against that man; everyone else was as well. The unfortunate reality is that daughters in Asian homes are often treated differently from their sons. I’m not saying there isn’t love; rather, perhaps there isn’t equal love or that love has a different expression that reflects the subordinate position of women in society. The eldest daughters frequently argue with their parents, usually their fathers, for the same reason. The patriarchs find themselves unable to adapt to the changing reality, and the younger generation, understandably, lacks the patience for it. They refuse to be treated like their mother was.
In Wave Makers, Wen Fang was accustomed to being patronized by other men outside of her home and misunderstood by her father inside, as women are frequently the target of. As a result, one develops a very sensitive defense mechanism that constantly teeters on the verge of exploding with rage. He did not even once support her when the individual in question was protesting to Wen Fang’s father. If the man apologized in return, Wen Fang was prepared to do the same. But he believed that he had a right to act in this way, and his entire hope that he could persuade her to accept his apology rested on the assumption that Wen Fang’s father had authority over her. Rebellion is inevitable when such authority replaces compassion and understanding.
Wen Fang might have apologized if her father had merely softly spoken to her in private that he understood her viewpoint but that she needed to make a sacrifice for her own welfare. But instead of that, she encountered a roomful of angry men who felt entitled to her composure. She refused to apologize since doing so would have required her to forfeit her dignity, which was a price she was unwilling to pay. Notably, she only apologized after realizing that her father was actually on her side. She was confident that he would support her and not be offended by her success. She took the action because of this conviction as well as the knowledge that she required the authority to be able to create a society where people like her could breathe well. She was able to prioritize herself since she understood that she wasn’t actually fighting alone. That was all it needed for her to apologize and receive a kind reassurance that she was, in fact, loved.
Why Was Ya Ching Feeling Guilty About Chang Tse?
According to Ya Ching, she first fell in love with Chang Tse when she removed the confetti from his hair. I understand it in a peculiar way. Ya Ching looked up to Chang Tse, and he was the first person to ever push her intellectual limits. She was accustomed to seeing him as a powerful figure, and it also helped that he was attractive and had political acumen. Confetti in his hair gave him a human face, making him approachable because he was standing in front of her and acting sweet and polite. Her attraction was confirmed, and she quickly began an affair with him. It was only natural that she felt uneasy about his extended family when she was in a romantic relationship. Despite her initial reluctance, she permitted him to take pictures of her since this particular issue clouded her perception.
Nevertheless, it was only a matter of time before the drawbacks of the attraction became apparent. She was still able to deal with his family by taking the “out of sight, out of mind” stance, but she was unable to avoid the gossip at work. Ya Ching was sick of not receiving the respect she deserved since she loved what she did. She also saw that even though there were two persons in the relationship, she was the only one that people were mentioning. Chang Tse volunteered to assist her run for a councilor after she expressed her worries to him in order to put her in a position of authority. But she soon realized it was just a hollow promise. In reality, she realized that he loved the exact power differential between them and ruined her prospects of finding work elsewhere because of it. Ya Ching made the decision to leave him on that day, no matter what.
Ya Ching continued to struggle with the shame of her affair years afterwards. She was aware of her error, but she was unsure if she had invited it on herself. Throughout the entire run of the television series Wave Makers, Ya Ching battled with our deeply ingrained conditioning of what is right and wrong that we hold over women. She didn’t realize how greatly her love and permission had been exploited until Wen Fang’s assistance, at which point she mustered the courage to tell the truth in front of everyone.
In Wave Makers, two women with a lot of grit were Wen Fang and Ya Ching. Wen Fang had to live with it her entire life, but Ya Ching’s sense of having to take up her own fights came as a result of what happened with Chang Tse. Making the best of difficult circumstances, two independent women ultimately changed the course of a whole nation. To think that Wen Fang’s father might have spared himself some headaches by being more frank, and Chang Tse could have simply avoided it by erasing the photos.