Reading the Taipei (“No Laowai Need Apply”) Times this morning, I saw the following front-page headline: “Tsai blasted for ‘government-in-exile’ remark.” Kuomintang responses include “serious blunder,” “shocking,” and that Tsai was “possessed by Chen.” King Pu-tsung said Tsai should apologize. DPP member Hsiao Bi-khim defended Tsai by saying her statement was taken out of context.
About context: Is that remark in any way context dependent? Let’s test it. “That joint has excellent beef noodles. By the way, the ROC government is a government in exile.” “I’d like to continue this enjoyable conversation about cricket and abstract expressionism, but I gotta go answer the call of nature. I leave you with this: The ROC government is a government in exile.” Dunno, man, it doesn’t seem likely that it needs a context. I think it’s pretty much a standalone, self-contained unit.
And if words have any meaning at all, the statement is on the order of certitude of the roundness of the earth. I could understand someone criticizing it for its mildness (i.e., “She shoulda said ‘fugitive,’ not ‘exile’”). But why would the DPP even have to make excuses for it? And why does the KMT believe it can score points with the electorate by criticizing it?