86OF revamps website, sort of

86OF has launched a revamped website. What they’ve done is basically putting up a company website proper. The current website at www.86of.com showcases the company business and is not aimed at end consumers who want to do parcel forwarding. I wonder what’s the point.

The original website with the “Member Centre” for managing parcels is still around and is now moved to the website address amk.86of.com. Not surprisingly, this annoucement is only made in the Chinese version of their website. I’m sure some customers would have panicked when they were not able to find the “Member Centre”.

The new website reveals that they have opened up 5 other branches around the island – Woodlands, Clementi, Hougang (in the Chinese version of website it is said to be Kovan), Tampinee and Boonlay (*facepalm* they are still not bothered about using proper English for their website and don’t even care if the names are spelt wrongly).

This is probably good news to those customers who stay far away from Ang Mo Kio. What i found puzzling is the way they have organized their operation. Every of these branches operate independently of each other with a different company name and website address. Also, with the exception of the Tramlines branch (called TPparcel), neither the company name nor the website address give you any clue that it serves a specific region. For example, the Clementi website address is www.taobao2SG.com (or cm.86of.com – is cm a good abbreviation of Clementi?) while the Woodlands website address is www.888ocean.com (or wl.86of.com – i’ve never seen Woodlands abbreviated as wl). They are operating in a franchising model, but i seriously think the execution is not briliant at all. All the franchising businesses I have seen operate as if they are the same and one entity.

Anyway, what’s most important for us consumers is that we can ship our Taobao goods at rock bottom prices, and i will continue using 86OF until they fail me. If you’re new to 86OF (do read my reviews on them), here are the sign up links for the various self-collection points – Ang Mo KioClementiWoodlands, Hougang and Tampines.

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Breakfast chronicles – Tortilla wrap

This is one of my favourite breakfast recipes, because it’s easy, tasty, and relatively healthy.

Mix, roll, and pan-fry

Homemade Tortillas are far better than store bought ones, and they’re extremely simple to make. The only thing one has to be careful about is not adding too much water to end up with a very wet dough, which will be difficult to handle. Continue reading Breakfast chronicles – Tortilla wrap

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86OF second review

I have just collected my second round of shipment through 86OF parcel forwarding, and generally speaking, you could say it turned out just fine.

My bounty this time, amounting to 0.24 CBM

Here are some details of note during the course of engagement with 86OF for the shipment. Continue reading 86OF second review

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Taobao is back on Shopback

For two months probably, Taobao went missing on Shopback. Apparently, they were revamping the mechanism for tracking Taobao purchases through Shopback.

Previously, you had to search for the item you wanted to purchase through the search bar in Shopback’s Taobao page. The obvious disadvantages of this approach were you would not be able to filter nor sort the search results like you could on Taobao website. For example, you wouldn’t be able to find the seller with the highest sales volume, and you normally want to do that. Continue reading Taobao is back on Shopback

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True Singapore Food – Bak Chor Mee

I have to admit that i may have been wrong when i said Fried Bee Hoon was, to me, the national dish of Singapore, because now I am of the opinion that Bak Chor Mee (minced pork noodles) may be even more commonplace. Often times, Fried Bee Hoon is only sold as a breakfast item, whereas Bak Chor Mee is sold throughout the day.

It took me a while to appreciate Bak Chor Mee, because i never had vinegar in my food since childhood. I never liked Bak Chor Mee during my first twenty years in Singapore. Once i got used to vinegar though, i came to love it! The taste is rather strong, and i would say you either love it or hate it. This uniquely Singaporean dish is not found in Malaysia. No, not even in JB. Continue reading True Singapore Food – Bak Chor Mee

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Coopers beer kit tasting notes

My 9th batch of beer, the IPA, is just ready for consumption. I made a different flavour each time, and here are my thoughts on those Coopers beer kit i have tried thus far. This is a very subjective matter of course. Also, beer expert i am not, and i can only talk in lay man terms.

I realized that it is true, that, over time, anyone who is into beer will better appreciate beer that is more heavily hopped, and i am no exception. Having made my own beer for over a year, i now have higher expectations, which is a good thing, since i can derive more enjoyment out of good beer. I can no longer accept the typical bland and diluted beer you find in the supermarket.

Overall, i think the Coopers beer kits are unbeatable when it comes to ease of brewing your own, and i will continue using them until i have the time to move on to grain brewing. Here is how i would rank the Coopers beer kits: Continue reading Coopers beer kit tasting notes

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Breakfast chronicles – Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake

This is my first time using a cake mix. Obviously, a cake mix is fail-proof – the cake rises like magic. If you have 45 minutes to prepare breakfast, then this is an option you can include in your arsenal of breakfast recipes. Continue reading Breakfast chronicles – Betty Crocker Devil’s Food Cake

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Amazon product recommendation – Philips Sonicare 3 Series

I have used a sonic toothbrush for quite a few years by now, and i will not settle for less. I have been quite happy with the Arm and Hammer Sonic toothbrush. Me and my wife, we share the toothbrush by swapping the brush head. Even though the battery’s retention of charge has deteriorated, it is good for 4 days’ usage per charge, which is still decent actually. However, due to wear and tear, there is now a hole in the flap that covers the on/off switch, and this could be dangerous, so it is high time for an upgrade.

Time for retirement

Continue reading Amazon product recommendation – Philips Sonicare 3 Series

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Europe one month itinerary

The highest concentration of nations is found in none other than Europe, which means you can experience the highest diversity of culture in the shortest time here. Europe also offers much in terms of places of historical significance, natural landscape, food, shopping and more, which is why you keep having to go back.

There are millions of permutations when planning for a Europe itinerary. Here’s how I am going to do it this time:

Days 1 to 8

Villa d’Este http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1025

Italy. I have been to Rome twice, yet there are many places near Rome I have not visited, such as Necropoli della Banditaccia (UNESCO heritage site) and Civita Di Bagnoregio. No trip to Italy is complete without a visit to The Mall, the famed luxury goods outlet centre. This would be my fourth time there. Continue reading Europe one month itinerary

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How to get a Russia Tourist Visa in Singapore

St Basil’s Cathedral is the first thing that comes to my mind at the mention of Russia. The iconic cathedral with multi-coloured onion domes is something i thought i should behold someday. Well, the day is coming soon. I have just obtained the Visa for entry into Russia for tourism.

What deters many from visiting Russia, besides the distance, is probably the difficulty in getting a Visa. Yes, Russia is one of the few countries for which a Visa is required for a tourism visit with a Singapore passport. Vfs handles the application for Russia Visa in Singapore, and their website provides comprehensive information on how to do so. Continue reading How to get a Russia Tourist Visa in Singapore

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