UST call me the wifi bandit.
My blogging addiction has taken me on all kinds of adventures -- from almost mi
ssing a flight because I was too busy posting at the Hong Kong airport to being
kicked out of an Internet cafe by a Middle Eastern family in a quiet street in
But this is the closest I have come to actually committing a crime because of m
My friend Tina lent me her new apartment during my recent trip to Singapore. A
trip which only had one purpose: to stalk the beautiful Rachael Yamagata.
Knowing my insane passion for the Internet and my incessant need to
be online, she warned me before I left Manila, "Pammy, there's no Internet
access in my apartment yet. But I promise there will be when you visit again."
"Don't worry about it,"
I said, already hatching plans to hang out in
cafes or at least Google my way to the nearest wifi hotspot.
When I finally arrived at her apartment, it was a little after midnight on a Fr
iday. The first thing I did was take my laptop out and check if there was a wif
i connection, just in case.
Instantly, I was connected. YM messages started popping up and my Gmail Notifie
r kept making little noises.
What's an addict to do? Click the Turn Airport Off option or stay online?
Stay online, of course.
I blogged, replied to a few e-mails and chatted with friends on YM.
But I had a nagging thought in my head -- because I remembered an article I rea
d about a teenage boy in Singapo
re who was caught stealing someone else's wifi connection
. He was put on pr
obation for eighteen months and this is the killer part -- he will not be allow
ed to access the Internet during the entire time.
Eighteen months without Internet access? That seriously sounds like a death sen
tence to me.
The guy was the first to be punished under Singapore's Computer Misuse Act. I d
idn't want to be number two.
And so the debate between my Sane Logical Self and Crazed Internet-Addicted Sel
Sane Logical Self: This is wrong. Cut the connection and go read a book. Or
Crazed Internet-Addicted Self: But we're online. And the connection says "d
efault" and we didn't even click on anything, it just appeared. So technically,
we're not guilty. If an apple fell into your lap, would you call it stealing?<
Sane Logical Self: Yes, if you ate it. And you are eating this apple. I mea
n, using the connection.
Crazed Internet-Addicted Self: But no one owns it, no one has even bothered
to name the connection, it's just called "default."
Sane Logical Self: Of course someone owns it. Just because someone hasn't n
amed their puppy yet doesn't mean you can get it.
Crazed Internet-Addicted Self: You really need better metaphors.
Sane Logical Self: Whatever. This is still wrong.
Crazed Internet-Addicted Self: I know it's wrong. But we're connected.
Sane Logical Self: Yes, using a connection that isn't yours.
Crazed Internet-Addicted Self: Shut up. This is getting old. Besides, we wo
uldn't get caught. That's the point, not getting caught.
Sane Logical Self: You know that the Singapore government is very efficient
. And they wouldn't think twice about punishing you.
Crazed Internet-Addicted Self: Yeah but I'm sure they have other wifi thiev
es to worry about. I mean we've only been using it for a few minutes.
Sane Logical Self: I wouldn't be surprised if they start knocking on that d
oor any minute now.
Crazed Internet-Addicted Self: You think? Of course not. It's in the middle
of the night -- they're all sleeping.
Sane Logical Self: Sigh. You are too stubborn.
Crazed Internet-Addicted Self: Right back at ya.
I am ashamed to admit that Crazed Internet-Addicted Self won. I did use that co
nnection and about two or three others during my three-day stay. I realized how
absurd the whole thing was when I found myself crouching in one corner of the
guest room because the signal was the strongest there. And yes, I kept checking
to see if there were Singaporean policemen outside the door.
Sometimes I wonder why I'm allowed to roam the streets of this world freely.
I left the apartment on Sunday night, half-expecting someone to slap handcuffs
on me as I dragged my luggage out of the elevator.
But no one did. The wifi bandit remains at large.