Taobao Christmas gift shopping 2022

It’s time to start your Christmas gift shopping. Keep in mind sea shipping takes 3 weeks. Here are some interesting items i found lately (click on image for link to product):

Sand art in a picture frame. So therapeutic. From 14 Yuan ~S$3
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Taobao product recommendation – Rice weevils eradicator

I’m usually not too bothered about rice weevils, except when i see their population explode. This happened to a pack of noodles in my pantry. I will still consume the noodle, except i have to rinse the noodles like twenty times to get rid of the rice weevils (by the way the presence of rice weevils does not affect the safety for consumption).

So i tried this for-Japan rice weevil eradicator product (9.9 Yuan ~S$2, not exactly cheap but supposed to last 3 months) and found it working as advertised. I’m not sure if it will get rid of all the rice weevils but i believe it will save me some rinsing effort. Handy to keep around those areas where you store your grain and flour, especially flour.

Rice weevils trying to escape the odour coming forth from the eradicator
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Taobao product recommendation – Mechanical timer

Some time back i recommended getting a cube timer as a time keeping tool for students. Well, my kid managed to crashing onto the floor, knocking out the buzzer in the process, so it’s pretty much rendered useless. There was actually an alternative product which i also liked, which i purchased this time round. The price has actually fallen quite a bit, which makes it all the more attractive.

I was looking at a mechanical timer (24 Yuan ~S$5, i got it for 18.5). Well you could call it a kitchen timer, or whatever. The salient feature is that it comes with a visual clue, like a pie chart telling you how much time is left. Also, it is completely mechanical, not requiring battery, which makes it even more convenient. I suspect it is even more fragile than the cube timer, but it really works well as a time keeper for students.

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Taobao product recommendation – waist fan

I first came across the idea of wearable fan years ago when Kuchofuku invented the “air-conditioned” jacket (the article mentions the invention came about way back in 2004). Since then the idea was stuck in my mind. I need such a contraption as i tend to perspire a lot.

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TnG card top up via Self-Service Kiosk

In the past, you used to be able to top up your TnG card at manned booths. Not anymore, a lot the manned booths don’t perform topping up anymore. Instead you could do topping up at petrol stations, convenience stores and various other shops. The complete list of topping up with and without fee is provided on PLUS’s website. The fee is 50 sen per RM20 or RM50 top up.

I think a lot of people like to ask if they could top up their card using the TnG eWallet. Basically you cannot, the TnG and the eWallet are like two separate systems. So it’s quite a hassle sometimes having to make a specific trip just to top up the TnG card. For the eWallet though, you can top up with Debit/Credit card within the App. Update: they have launched the NFC TnG card which allows topping up the TnG card via eWallet. Very hard to get hold of the card though, hoarders snap up all the supply and sell them for 5X the cost of the card.

For those embarking on a trip from JB to Malacca or KL, you need to pay RM20+ and RM30+ of toll respectively, and oftentimes your TnG card will be short of that amount. Here’s a convenient way to top up your card along the north-south highway: Self-Service Kiosks (SSK). There is no top up fee, and you can pay with your eWallet balance (which you can easily top up anytime). The kiosk generates a QR code and you just need to scan it with the TnG app to make payment. Update: unfortunately, they removed this feature of topping up with eWallet and it’s cash only

For those traveling north-bound from JB, the Kempas Toll Plaza SSK is especially convenient. It is near the toilet of the R&R area on the left right after passing through the toll booths. If you plan to do top up, do use one of the two leftmost lanes when going through the toll booths so you can turn into the R&R area.

SSK at Kempas Toll Booth R&R
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Taobao product recommendation – Printer toner refill

Many of us may know this – a laser printer appears to be priced affordably, but when replacing the consumables (the toner cartridge) you’re often paying at least half the original price of the printer. In actual fact though, the toner is dirt cheap. If only you could replenish just the toner yourself.

Well, you can do so with certain models of printers. I use the Pantum M6550NW and with the PC-211 cartridge it is very easy to replenish the toner. Just pop open the cap, pour in the toner and replace the cap. I did have to replace the anti-reuse chip too. This allows for perpetual reuse of the toner cartridge. The toner was filled to the brim, and there was still leftover toner. At 18.5 Yuan (S$4) for two cans of toner, this was a steal, considering that the toner could probably print more than 2000 pages. The Pantum printer itself felt like it could last for many years to come too. Pretty good for the environment.

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Taobao product recommendation – Low power wireless camera

The Ring camera was probably among the first battery powered wireless cameras launched, back in 2013. Since then, they have been proven to actually work, which is amazing. Operating on a battery, it is truly wireless and can be mounted anywhere.

I use two VStarcam security cameras, one indoors and the other semi-outdoor, and they are both still working flawlessly, after more than 4 years. It makes sense to buy a battery powered wireless camera from VStarcam also, especially since I will be able to do monitoring from the same App (Eye4 plus from VStarcam).

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Taobao product recommendation – Japanese style deep frying pot

Some time ago i bought an electric deep fryer. While it is still relevant, it is more suited to doing deep frying for a small party. You can basically set a reminder and leave it frying on its own while you entertain your guests or do other chores. It is also relatively smokeless. Nevertheless, the downside is the amount of oil used, which is up to one litre at a time.

Most of the time, my frying is done in a Tamagoyaki pan, which is relatively shallow and therefore uses minimal oil. However, some items create a lot of splatter when fried, for example fried chicken. I decided to try a Japanese style deep frying pot. Such a pot is often used for Tempura frying. It costs only around S$12 for the 304 stainless steel one, so why not.

The thermometer does help. I can slow down the frying to prevent burning when I’m occupied with other tasks.

It was indeed a lot easier doing deep frying with the pot. You can literally throw stuff into it and not worry about splatter. And you can do shallow frying and save oil. I highly recommend it. Note that some reviewers mention the item is somewhat crude and seems to have sharp edges, and it is true. But, it is not to the point it will cut whenever you just hold it. For the price I seriously don’t mind.

The drip tray can hold a huge piece of fried chicken without problem
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Taobao product recommendation – Remote control duplicator

I have quite a few Europace tower fans at home. The annoying thing is, the remote control breaks down easily. It costs $10 to buy a replacement from Europace, which is bloody expensive. I tried getting a universal remote some years ago but it didn’t work. Thankfully, there’s a much better alternative now – a duplicator, which has learning function.

At S$4 each for the two buttons one, i think the price is quite acceptable. The product page claims it is able to learn from 99.9% of all Infrared remote controls. Tested on the Europace remote control, worked. Happy. No more worries about misplaced or spoilt remote controls, if you take preemptive action. Recommended.

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Taobao product recommendation – mobile phone replacement battery

My phone has been in use for more than two years. You probably know that the phone battery life deteriorates over time. In my case, it has come to a point where I need to charge the phone in multiple ten-minutes bursts towards the end of the day, and that’s annoying.

As you also know, you can buy just about anything on Taobao, and that includes a replacement battery for a phone. In fact, some of these products advertise up to double the capacity of the original battery (I bought one such product – 7980mAh vs 4000mAh for the original). To be taken with a pinch of salt, but any increase in capacity over the original battery is welcome.

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