>EVERYONE can have his own little space online, and with limitless room for everyone on the Internet, you can make yourself very comfortable.
Just be careful of dissing your neighbours - for they can be anyone and everyone.
Jan Rick Mascarina, 18, a Filipino who has been living in Singapore for the past 12 years, has learnt his lesson.
Blogging as The Famous Nobody, he got more eyeballs than he'd bargained for when he vented his frustration about a Malay cabbie and an uncommunicative SBS Transit lost and found service operator on his online journal. He had used epithets like "stupid" and "useless", among other words.
Netizens quickly slammed him for being racist, with some threatening to call the police.
When contacted by my paper yesterday, the polytechnic undergraduate asserted: "I've completely been taken out of context. People have misquoted me."
He went on: "I apologise to those who felt offended by my remarks. It was never my intention to hurt them."
He certainly isn't the first blogger to get into trouble for posting racially insensitive remarks.
Last month, the 24-year-old unnamed author of Sexy Fragrance Prince was convicted for infringing the Sedition Act, when he went on a tirade about a certain race on his blog.
Three years ago, three bloggers were found guilty under the same charge. Two of them went to prison and one of them had to pay a hefty $5,000 fine.
Another firebrand blogger, Xiaxue, who is famous for airing her controversial viewpoints, had once openly expressed her disdain for a group of foreign workers.
The latter had allegedly molested girls during a new year street party a few years ago.
I remembered a former colleague who had interviewed the blogger about two years ago, and I was quite eager for his verdict on her.
"She's very nice. I don't remember why we thought she'd be bitchy," he said.
An epiphany then came to me: Just like television could make anything look glamorous, the Internet has the ability to magnify one's faults.
As Mascarina said: "We exaggerate to entertain, and it can be taken the wrong way sometimes. I never meant my blog to be read by anyone other than my friends."
Ah, the oft-heard protest by many a blogger.
French philosopher Michel Foucault once compared modern society to the panopticon - a prison designed such that those held captive aren't aware exactly who's watching them, and when.
This is exactly what the Internet is like - you are being watched 24-7.
You never know who's looking at your Friendster profile or reading your blog. Worse, anonymous folks may already have archived your entries, should you wisen up one day and decide to eradicate your trail.
JK, a 29-year-old IT professional I met on HardwareZone.com, said: "Kids are just getting themselves drunk with the power to literally express themselves... Not realising that their identities can be easily dug out by others, and that their blogs are usually cached by a external caching server, like Google."
Yet some bloggers continue to throw caution to the wind - come hell (from netizens), high water (from the boss) or Internal Security Department arrests. They write whatever they want - and throw a tantrum when they are told to pay the price for their cavalier slingshots.
So, if you have a score to settle with someone, whether he's from a different social or racial group, make sure your opinion is a well-informed and intelligent one.
Just don't act all surprised when people start throwing eggs at you.