adverb & adjective
1. (of an argument or reaction) directed against a person rather than the position they are maintaining.
"an ad hominem response"
2. relating to or associated with a particular person.
"the office was created ad hominem for Fenton"
An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"), short for argumentum ad hominem, means responding to arguments by attacking a person's character, rather than to the content of their arguments. Abusive ad hominem usually involves attacking the traits of an opponent as a means to invalidate their arguments.
Rather than rebutting - at the danger of "putting reason and intellectualism to sleep" - the points raised in the two opinion pieces of The Huffington Post, namely "Without Freedom There Is No Free Trade" (13 Nov 2013) and "Free the Singapore Media and Let the People Go" (11 Dec 2014, Chan Chun Sing resorted to the brass knuckles favoured by his political masters. A reprise of the treatment given to Chiam See Tong when latter faced off Mah Bow Tan, the blowback of which resulted in Chiam being elected to Parliament in 1984, the second opposition politician ever to be elected to Singapore's Parliament after J. B. Jeyaretnam of the Workers' Party (WP) in 1981.
Name calling like “political failure” may bruise the thin skinned types who actually claim to be "flame-proof", but not men of sterner stuff. As for "misappropriating research funds", the subject is postage to express mail his wife's doctoral thesis to her academic adviser in the United States, not a director level branch head of the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) skimming off $1.76 million to fuel his gambling habit. The crime buster organisation's lame excuse for the lapse in supervision: “the offences were well-planned and hard to detect”.
“It fabricates evidence – as Dr Vasoo did twenty years ago – to deprive people of their living. Lest I be accused of fabricating this, I draw evidence from the fact that this accusation has been published abroad in my colleague, Chee Soon Juan’s book, Democratically Speaking, available these last three months and against which Dr Vasoo has not raised a whimper.”
Chan may chafe at Huffinton Post for giving an opposition member "undeserved space", but thinking members of the electorate are welcoming the airing of dirty laundry with glee.