Secret Identity: Nothing is what they seems to be

Yesterday a group of bloggers played a somewhat organized prank on their unsuspecting blog  readers, fellow twitter followers, as well as facebook friends. A prank… that comes rather late, in my opinion. After all, April 1st is definitely over. This prank, would have inspired a smile or even laughter if it’s conjured on 1st April 2010, but unfortunately, it is not. Some of you might be wondering what sort of prank it was. Well…head over to Merryn’s blog, and follow Foongpc on twitter @foongpc. The main subject here is, Merryn and Foongpc. Foongpc is an anonymous blogger, who never plaster his pictures all over the net met up with Merryn, along with Iamthewitch and her husband, Saucer.

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Then, after that, they decided to play a prank via Merryn’s blog where she proceed to write an entry by putting up Iamthewitch’s husband’s picture, Saucer and mislead the readers into thinking that Saucer is Foongpc’s husband.

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In the beginning, nothing happened until Foongpc began to rant and rave that he didn’t give permission to her to put up the bloody pictures, and seems to be pissed to the extend that he’s going to take legal action against her. While it is a fact that Merryn did not exactly mention that the picture in her entry is Foongpc’s picture, Foongpc gave many comments both on his twitter as well as in Merryn’s blog to give the impression that he is the man in the picture. And many readers were enraged by Merryn’s action; exposing what she’s not supposed to exposed. From what I gather, she probably received many hate mails and hate comments for it, and I was horrified for her safety as well as her son’s safety.

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I was horrified because of this; the threat for legal action by Foongpc as well as the haters. And my imagination started to run wild. People are hating her for what she did then.  I was thinking, it would be a shame if crazy haters get back at her through her sweet, innocent little boy Ethan. You see… Ethan is one of Merryn’s main subject in her blog. People actually knows how Ethan looks like. Gosh, I can’t imagine the poor thing being harmed or kidnapped just because people hate Merryn for what she did! God forbids that! I may sound paranoid, but this world is no heaven where everything is protected and loads of lunatics roam about.

. The next day, another entry was made, and apparently, everything is a hoax, and it seems that it is a joke made up at the expanse of the sympathetic and foolish readers. So… I kinda wonder why when everything was out in the open, Foongpc even dares to ask us why we fools thought that he is the man in the picture while he himself seems to imply it? I don’t quite get this part of the joke, though. Was he being sarcastic or did he not know that some of us are not only Merryn’s readers but his twitter follower as well? I’m not quite sure. πŸ˜›

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Truth be told. I was one of those stupid fools, and should have laughed at myself for being foolish. However, I couldn’t really find the heart to laugh at this little conspiracy. Why? Easy. Firstly, it’s because, deep down, I am somewhat similar to those uptight British bitch, and I am slow at getting jokes to penetrate into my brain, and secondly because I am also an anonymous blogger.

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This may be a playful, harmless joke played at the expanse of the innocent, unsuspecting readers, but to me… the effect is not quite those of a joke. I wish I could laugh with mirth, but I couldn’t find the laughter. Instead, the joke scares me. It scares me to my very core and made me shudder in fear.

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Yes. Shudder in fear. I experience many near-death experience before, however, it doesn’t come close to scaring me like this. Being somewhat anonymous in the world wide web all these while, I felt as if I’ve been doused by a bucket of ice through this entry, making me realized many things.

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Things that I have somewhat neglect to delve into since earlier of this year where I am determined to lead a happier and more fulfilling life by opening up my hearts to more people, and be a better me. Through this entry, I realized that… I MUST be extremely careful when I meet people next time. Or better still… don’t bother to meet strangers at all.

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Merryn’s entry may come out as a well organized joke, but in truth, such thing similar to the jokes she played might be real one day. It may not be from her, but I can’t honestly say others won’t do it for real-reveal one’s identity and expose what’s preferred to be private and confidential in the first place, just because they thought it’s not important and it’s funny or just because they thought it can bring traffics to their blogs.

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If I am not careful enough while meeting strangers, they might do what Merryn did in her entry-expose someone’s identity to the public without permission. While hers is meant to be a joke, such thing might not be a joke when it’s done on me, and that, wouldn’t be a laughing matter anymore.

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It will be an invasion of privacy in the most awful and cruel way, and if it happens to me, I’d be sure the one who did it pays dearly for the damage that has been done to me. I don’t tolerate invasion of privacy well. To me, it is a form of rape. Kindly do not ask me to chill or tell me that I think too much, because I value privacy very much.

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Merryn’s little joke really made me think how dangerous the world wide web is, and I must thread carefully. Plastering my own pictures with my freaking face all over the net is a no, no for me. And I definitely don’t allow anyone to do it without my permission as well. If you do that… I’ll file a lawsuit. Why? Well, you wouldn’t understand it, so, let me explain. This is not going to be a pretty post, and I am somewhat prepared for flames. Well, do your worst but I’m still going to discuss this issue. It’s been in my head for quite some time, but apparently, nothing actually triggered me to write it.

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Let me start with some questions. Do you know why Superman kept his identity a secret? Why Spiderman wears a mask covering his face? And why terrorists NEVER ever carry the picture of their family and children in their wallet?

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The reason is extremely simple. The superheroes, and the terrorists alike have something that others do not have, which is something to protect. By not exposing themselves… their true identity to the friends and foes alike, they are protecting something precious to them, which is their loved ones.

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Imagine everyone who knows who is Superman in his world…he may be a superhero with super powers, but the ones he loved, Lois Lane and his parents are just mere human. If the bad people finds out who is related to Superman, what would they do? Kill his family of course, cuz they are weak and powerless. They might need a kryptonite to weaken and kill Superman, but they don’t exactly need anything much to kill his human family.

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Killing Superman’s family members is as good as having a revenge on him. I am sure many bad guys out there agree with me on this. If you can’t get the bastard, get his family. That would be good enough. This world is not exactly paradise or a heaven on earth, if you ask me. I may not be Superman, or Batman, or any being with super power.

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I am just a normal human, but I have something to protect, which is my family. All of you may have nothing to loose by plastering the pictures of yourself and your children online and have no qualms of letting people know who you are, but I do. I don’t exactly write sweetly pleasant things that makes people happy all the time. More often than not, my writing is somewhat free… I am a very opinionated person, and what I write may hurt people’s feelings rather than not. My writing provoke people’s thoughts,and God knows how many people out there is waiting to strangle me to death for being rather peculiar and opinionated.

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And so… I don’t quite appreciate it when people ask me why I never reveal my face online. I read a comment in Merryn’s page where someone asked Foongpc… why he doesn’t want to show his picture? He looks fine and handsome, and he shouldn’t be shy about it. This freaking stupid, brainless, bimbo-ish question irks me to death. Do you know why?

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Because….you fools… sometimes, people kept their identity a secret not because they are not-photogenic, camera shy or they look fucking ugly. It is because they value their privacy and realize how important it is not to have unnecessary exposure in the public. They, unlike you who exposed yourself, have something important to protect, and they prefer to remain safe than sorry. One may say that they are just pictures… what harm can it do? I say many. People can recognize you on the street while you have no idea who they are. And I shudder to think that some losers out there are looking at your pictures while masturbating.

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Absolutely freaky, if you ask me. You may say they don’t know your address, your phone number. Oh…they do know…this is the information technology era. They can trace you through Facebook… through advertising companies READ: Nuffnang and so on. Maybe you don’t get me yet, but you have to key in your IC number, address andmany other confidential details in order for you to receive payments for those ads, am I right?

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What if some sex maniac and pedophiles reads your blog and wants you and your children so bad and they happen to have access to your confidential profiles?

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I dare not imagine, but I shall say prayers for you and hopes nothing bad happens to you. Seriously, do you think that everything is secure? I say no. Because I live in a world where black hat hackers as well as white hat hackers exists, and breaking into people’s facebook accounts and whatnot is a piece of cake for them. Some even work as programmers…who laugh at the security of these social networking sites. By the way, did you know that in some sites, your password are visible to administrators?Am I bullshitting? No… I am not bullshitting… sometimes, to site admins, they don’t even have to see your passwords to be able to login into your accounts. They have a universal password for it. In other words, the only thing that kept these people from harassing you is just their work ethics and moral.

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Nothing, dear readers, nothing is really secure. Anyway…please allow me to openly apologize to my former journalism lecturer as well as mass communication lecturer. I am so sorry that I did not pay much attention in class when you mention about not trusting whatever we read as well as rumours, noise and miscommunication. I’ve learn my lesson now. The hard way. I am so, so sorry and this will not be repeated on my part ever again. I promise I will try to differentiate  between white noise and the real news instead of just believing. Shame on me…and I dare to call myself a journalism grad. I don’t deserve that.

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Cleffairy: Fame comes with a price that I am not willing to pay, because I saw first hand…that nothing is actually 100% secure in the first place. Do I sound paranoid? Childish and immature? Imagination too wild? Well, excuse me while I go and play Maplestory using a level 135 Bishop to boom at some stupid skellies by using Genesis. And maybe after that, I’ll go watch Sailormoon and waste away by reading Doraemon and Dragonball! You people go ahead and do whatever makes you happy.

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ps: Thank you Merryn, for reminding me how dangerous the Internet can be. Your joke made me realize that not everybody is as nice as you and won’t expose people’s identity. From this day forward, only the privileged few will know who I am πŸ˜€

50 comments

      • Caroline says:

        gila! stil not takut meh! all ur words actually almost same as my dad’s words, he know i play lots those social networking sites and dats d reason i stopped playing most of them n my fb is only for my family, schoolmates, relatives and person that i know. huhu..

        • Cleffairy says:

          Den I can kawan wif your dad la… think alot tht kind. Ahahahhaha….but really must be careful la… not everyone trustworthy. πŸ™

  1. suituapui says:

    I don’t see any danger, no need to be paranoid! Even without blogging, everyone also knows who I am… Why would anyone want to do anything to me – poor old harmless pensioner?

    It’s like socialising…making friends in the real physical sense. But if people are secretive and want to remain anonymous when you have established physical contact (met in person, that is), I feel very uneasy. We are blogger-friends…and now we have met in person, we are friends – why this secret, that secret? If like that – no need to meet better! It is like – we are friends but you don’t trust me.

    Like Superman. He wants to stay anonymous, fair enough. And after we have met, he would tell me many things about himself…but I will not tell anybody and definitely not in the blogs! I have his photos but I would not be posting them, that’s for sure. He told me his real name…and now I can’t even remember what it is. Just about shows how good I am at keeping secrets… I forget easily, old man.

    Come to think of it…what’s your name again huh? You told me once, right? See! I’ve forgotten!!! Oh dear! LOL!!!

    • Cleffairy says:

      LOL…cuz I got case, 2 years back. Life threathening one at that. Not even my fault. So celaka. πŸ™ So become paranoid la. For you..;. nobody dares la… one look at you, semua cabut liao la… where got dare to harm you? You’re a very nice guy, Cikgu…I know I can trust you… instinct. That’s why I kacau u often ma. See… my name oso lupa. Mwhahahahaha! But unfortunately, not many are like you. You look scary oni, but harmless…. some others.. looks not scary, but harmful?

      If I ever to meet you… after I meet you I wouldn’t treat you like a blogger already. I’ll probably be treating you like my friend more than just a blogger…cuz I know you’re nice guy. No threat coming from you…but so many maniacs out there leh… scary. My cousin in the police force… u kno got missing children case cuz ppl thought they’re so cute on facebook and wanna take em away from their parents? Eeeee…. takut! Maniacs! So many unreported case. Scary lah!

  2. claire says:

    Good morning Cleff… I read this with interest cos I didnt know actually what happened, I never turn to my FB nor my twitter to catch what’s going on… didnt know there was a hue and cry until i read this…
    gosh, thanks for opening my eyes, i didnt that exposing my pictures can be threatening in a way.. what u mentioned are true, i given my password to many many websites, personal information where payment is concerned.. in a way, it is insecured, i agree. πŸ™

    • Cleffairy says:

      Ohaiyyyyoooooo, Mama Claire. You’re not kaypo enough, while me, being an insomniac, got so much time to spare at night. It’s amazing how much you can catch up at night when you’re not sleeping.

      To some, it’s not dangerous… I dun mean to scare anyone, but that is what I tink. For some, being recognized on the street without knowing who ppl are is not scary, but to me, it is. I feel… endangered. πŸ˜›

      The password and website security thingie? My hubby is a web developer/web admin as well. He help build sites and test them. So I’ve seen most of the security issues as well for many websites where he’s required to fix the bugs and whatnot. Most sites is not… as secure as the public thought it is. No joke.

  3. fatty oldman says:

    fatty oldman like me r weak so tat y i din post picture as scared those kidnapper vomit rather than kidnapped me…

  4. eugene says:

    i guess even if it was a hoax or a prank, but playing up the scarce one the innocent is not much a gentlemenly act, i reckon.

    for instance i can play a prank on my friends cos they know who i am, and the “victims” are those of my friends.

    Well i guess, it is blogging with another twist.

    Personally i loathe this kind of act but then again, everyone has the right to fool and everyone should have the wisdom not to be fooled,,,

    • Cleffairy says:

      We readers are stupid ma…wud to do? Di perbodohkan lohh… aihh…mebbe new trend, Eugene… April Fool whole month, and not on 1st April only. Maybe that’s it, and we fools somehow are not quite up to date. Well, we bodoh sangat… were misled and fooled. Serve us right for being stupid and too trusting. One should learn not to trust whatever they read on the net just like that, no? Nobody knows how much crooks they are out there! *shudder*

      I have yet to learn the art of fooling… though I think it’s one art that I don’t need to learn… cuz I’m afraid…the pranks, and the jokes will somehow backfired and on me instead.

      Anyway, jokes and pranks aside… it’s the security and privacy issue that I wanna address here, actually.

  5. donna says:

    oh.. ceh.. kns.. wtf.. mlm
    i just follow everything today.. ahahaha.. thanks for summarise everything..
    apa life threatened case?? so dangerous meh?

  6. Cynthia says:

    shall we now start to ‘privatise’ blogs and meant to be read for ‘known’ person only? :p actually when I read Merryn’s blog, I don’t really get it at first.. only come to the 2nd post then only I understand…

    • Cleffairy says:

      Liddat kenot earn ad lor Cyn, cham oso. Just have to be careful lorr. πŸ™ We got anak, so tend to worry more…harm us nvm, harm the anak, den chammm

  7. iamthewitch says:

    Thank you for bringing the issue of privacy up Fairy! I absolutely understand people’s needs for privacy and confidentiality and under no circumstances would I jeopardize that. But again, as you said, we should be careful with whoever we meet and only be friends with the selected trustworthy ones. πŸ™‚

  8. Merryn says:

    I don’t get many hate mails for that.. the only hate mail i got was from the blogger that I actually knew and THAT is the saddest part of it! We don’t do this merely for traffic… it was harmless until someone gets paranoid..

    • Cleffairy says:

      I wonder if being genuinely worried for you and your son’s safety is considered a hate mail? Harmless… I dunno… maybe harmless til Foong threatens you. You have no idea how close some ppl was to reporting to the police. But the issue here is not really the prank… it’s the security issue.

      • Merryn says:

        If you were genuinely worried bout ME and ETHAN, you should have emailed ME instead of others.. that’s all I’ve got to say..

        • Cleffairy says:

          You were already happily asleep after the prank. Others were wide awake. What are you upset about now? That not everyone actually get your joke?

  9. Bananaz says:

    Agree! Better be safe than sorry. Being reading lots of emails and watching Criminal Minds on TV about psychopaths is real scary. You may think its only a movie but there are some element of truth. About the password think the analogy of a locksmith would say it all. You will ponder how he gets your locked lock opened. Thankz Cleffairy for bringing up this important issue. Do keep your important password separate and not to use them in any social networking sites and have lots of passwords too but you have to manage them well by writing down in coded form or whatever. tQ

    • Cleffairy says:

      Yeah, never, ever use same password for all sites. πŸ™ It’s really better to be safe than sorry. This world consists of many kind of people, and they are not necessarily trustworthy.

  10. kathy says:

    *dies* I also put up my kid pic in blog πŸ™

    Scary also. So many crazy people out there. sometimes tersalah write something in blog then people might wanna harm us πŸ™

    • Cleffairy says:

      Takpelah… they tak berani kot? You’re a pontianak with unruly hair….see liao, cabut, cuz takut. Summore u dun maki ppl like me… me oni need to afraid ma.

  11. foongpc says:

    It’s a prank that we thought up at the last minute without thinking too much. More like a spontaneous thing more for fun than anything else. After reading your post, I was wondering if we indeed went too far with it!

    Anyway, I can understand your concerns. I too value my privacy and would not allow anyone to post my pics online.

    Also, when I first meet with a blogger whom I don’t really know (even if he or she had been visiting my blog for years!) I will refrain from divulging my personal details too much.

    I only let people know more about me once I warm up to them after repeated meetings. Also it depends on my gut feeling – some bloggers I feel more comfortable with I would divuldge more, others I wait till I get to know them better.

    Because I had bad experience with bloggers who turned on me despite being nice on the surface, so yeah, be careful about meeting bloggers and also posting our photos online.

    • Cleffairy says:

      Unfortunately, Foong… what’s fun to you, might not be fun to the rest of us. When you threatened Merryn, saying she will pay for what she have done, threatens to sue her, threatens that something will happen to her the next day, many of us who know her personally were worried for her. I wonder if that’s what intended when the joke is planned?

      All of us got worried badly. And not just me. And when we found out it’s a hoax…we can’t really feel relief… You people are lucky none take it none to seriously to the extend of reposting to police. Now, that, would be real joke: cuz the prank has triggered our worries. I know a few other bloggers who felt the same. As for me… the prank slapped me hard, and it made me realized that anonymity is actually fickle. Such thing could happen to me in the hand of others, and it might not even be a joke.

      Merryn say we should know her better and ought to know she wouldn’t do these sort of things…but she did not clarify to us that if it was a joke in the first place when some of us asked her. All she said was that she didn’t care what people think. So it really got everyone worried for her safety and Ethan. We were really genuinely worried for her.

      Yes… it is wise not to expose things about us too much when we meet people. Not everyone are nice people, and sometimes, meeting people can make things go sour. This prank… also made me think. Sometimes we also don’t know who is behind the screen… wud if one person have many online identity, and they tricked us to expose ourself to them? Example… a guy pretending to be a girl and befriend another girl to get her pictures, personal details, etc? It is a scary thought! Pictures… not necessarily be real as well. I know, cuz it have been done unto me when I was playing maplestory.

      But, at the end of the day, I am glad for you that you are still anon. I felt terrible for you the other day. This is a bit of relief knowing that she didn’t exposed you without permission.

  12. Gratitude says:

    Fairy, perhaps another lesson that can be learned from this episode is for us to remember humility and try to do good and write positive. Aggression begets the same response. That is why high profilers alwiz seem to get more haters. That doesn’t mean the less high profile peeps don’t get harrassed too, only less risk!

    One way to protect myself is to steer clear from bloggers who seem to dwell in negativity ie constant broken relationships, not getting along with colleagues etc. Then again, my real purpose to blog is to share positive stories and create humour to liven peeps lives a lil’ more. Happiness is my key!

    I wish you well! ^_^
    +Ant+

    • Cleffairy says:

      Yes, true… humility. And I always try to keep low profile. Being famous and overnight fame is easy as a, b, c… but there will be a price to pay, no?

      For me… I write both positive and negative things, and my purpose of writing is wanting to make people think and be inspired. My articles may provoke thoughts, and people not necessarily will like it. From what I see, people like to see sweet lies rather than blatant truth. πŸ™ My world is full of enough lies… I would at least want truth and freedom to express my opinion here in my blog. LOL.

  13. Christopher says:

    Probably your comment is a bit extreme but I do agreed with you. Thus, I try not to reveal too much of my personal life in my blog but only post makan pics or some motivation articles to make my readers feel good. In Facebook, it’s strictly for folks i trust. Im more concerned abt young girls who were so brave and so exposed in the cyberworld nowadays!

  14. Merryn says:

    Stop sending your pictures to bloggers whom you have not met if you are so afraid… by sending them to us, you are exposing US to much more pressure. In case the pictures leaks, we are to be blame.. and I don’t want to be blame for nothing.. I’ve deleted your pictures so I have no more connection with you. The end.

  15. sasha Tan says:

    i posted my kids picture to scare these ppl away. Look at the naughty things they did. hahaha

    well yeah. gotto r.e.s.p.e.c.t for ppl’s way of looking at things. some ppl just wanna be annon and some ppl wanna be SEEN.

    And also i learnt something from blogging, don’t care too much. Sometimes its just not genuine. πŸ˜‰ got bitten before and quite painful…

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