Tour of my ancestral land – Part 3 – Fuqing and Fuzhou

The only clue I had when searching for my grandfather’s hometown was my surname. As the Chinese proverb goes, that sounds like searching for a needle in the ocean bed, right? Fortunately, in the olden days, Chinese families, those with the same surname, stick closely together. An entire village would consist of families of the same descent. And so, just by searching using my surname, I managed to find two villages in Fuqing where people with the same surname as mine lived.

To be honest, i felt that my chances were pretty low on actually hitting the jackpot, but it would be good enough for me just to get a feel of the place. Continue reading Tour of my ancestral land – Part 3 – Fuqing and Fuzhou

Tour of my ancestral land – Part 2 – Dabu and Tulou

While my dad is from Fuqing, my mum is Hakka. Specifically, from Dabu 大埔. I didn’t plan for it initially, but after checking the map, i discovered that Dabu is not too far from the Tulou area. Well, afterall, the Tulou are built by the Hakkas. So, i decided to add on an itinerary to check out Dabu, even though my mum wasn’t so keen.

Dabu is located in Guangdong province, just bordering Fujian. Just so that we could do some sightseeing (because there isn’t much to see in and around Dabu, other than ancient dwellings which does not interest my mum again), i chose to visit the terraced paddy fields of Pingshan (坪山梯田).

Enroute to Pingshan, we passed by Pinghe (平和), and they are famous for Pomelo (蜜柚). I have not seen Pomelo, or anything at all for that matter, grown in such a scale. Continue reading Tour of my ancestral land – Part 2 – Dabu and Tulou

Tour of my ancestral land – Part 1 – Xiamen

For a long time, I had in mind to bring my father to his father’s birthplace. It finally came to pass. My grandfather came from Fuqing, Fujian. Since then, none among my relatives have gone back to visit, so nobody has an idea what the place is like. Not sure about you, but I find it intriguing to get a glimpse of how my ancestors lived.

When I chanced upon a cheap flight (S$280) to Xiamen, without second thoughts, I went ahead to book. If one keeps procrastinating, it will never happen.

Here are some tips on organizing a free-and-easy trip in China: Continue reading Tour of my ancestral land – Part 1 – Xiamen

Taobao product recommendation – bathroom fittings

If you’re doing home renovation, besides LED lighting, bathroom fittings is probably the next category of goods that will save you a large sum of money if you sourced from Taobao. Let me warn you upfront though, that there is the risk of receiving malfunctioning or damaged products, which may delay your renovation for a few weeks if you decide to re-purchase the replacement. This actually happened to me, and unbeliveably, the replacement that was shipped also malfunctioned. i had to ship the item for the third time before i finally got a replacement that was working properly. Hence, proceed with buying from Taobao only if you’re willing to put up with such a risk.

All my bathroom fittings, except the toilet bowl and water heater, were sourced from Taobao. Only one out of three wash basins was slightly damaged during shipment, so it you’re worried about whether it is safe to ship these items, I would say it is quite safe.

Actually, besides the cost, I bought from Taobao because I wanted to use stainless steel products exclusively. I’ve become weary of using chrome plated bathroom fittings, which develop permanent watermarks after some time, and becomes rusted in the long run. Stainless steel bathroom fittings are still not so common in Singapore. I reckon it will take years before Singapore catches up with China in this respect.

Here are some products I think are worthwhile buying from Taobao. Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – bathroom fittings

Grabbing a taxi in Bangkok

Probably the best way to grab a taxi in Bangkok is to Grab one (as in to use the Grab app). It was certainly a convenient way to get a six seater taxi, which is now available abundantly.

The other advantages are – not having to fumble over communicating the destination to the driver since it’s already specified through the app, not having to worry if you don’t have small change to pay for the ride, and less chance of being taken for a ride (money wise). Continue reading Grabbing a taxi in Bangkok

86OF Lost Parcel

And so it happened to me, as predicted by myself. My very first parcel that is nowhere to be found in 86OF’s warehouse.

You may have ended up reading this post because you had the same fate. What I have to say to you is, don’t panic! Most likely, the parcel will be found. Also, don’t get angry nor too worried. It doesn’t help at all. Just take the logical steps toward finding your parcel and hope for the best. That’s all you can do anyway. Yelling at the customer service does nothing to help your cause. Continue reading 86OF Lost Parcel

Taobao product recommendation – home surveillance camera

From where would you source for a home surveillance camera? There was a time when the only practical solution was to engage contractors specializing in CCTV system installation, due to limitations in hardware capability – you had to wire up the house, since, back then, the Wifi transfer speed was not quick enough, and video compression was not advanced enough. You had to do video recording onto a harddisk using a customized PC system, because there was no such thing as cloud services, nor was the SD card capacity and speed up to the task. Both the harddisk and the customized PC system are highly prone to breakdown, so, you might be left with a white elephant in just a short period of time after shelling out a huge sum on a home surveillance system installation. Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – home surveillance camera

Review of 86OF Air Shipping

Timeliness is sometimes the deciding factor for making a purchase. With the possibility of receiving your goods roughly one week from the time you order from Taobao, there’s no reason to shop from elsewhere. This is made possible with air shipping.

There are many options available when it comes to choosing the air shipping forwarder, and for the Singapore market, there are practically 3 options available – Taobao Consolidate and Shipping (to be referred to as simply Taobao henceforth), ezbuy and 86OF.

I have used Taobao and ezbuy air shipping regularly, and this time round, I had a go with 86OF. They have just revamped their offering and it is quite competitive. However, they are not the winner, not yet. Here is how the three compare: Continue reading Review of 86OF Air Shipping

Long Weekend Johor Getaway

So, where were you over the long weekend just passed? For a cheap getaway, nothing beats crossing over to neighbouring Johor. This time, we ventured up the east coast which we haven’t been to before (not counting Desaru that is). This turned out to be an excellent choice since the north-south highway was jam packed with holiday makers who ended up getting caught in multi-hour traffic jam.

The islands off Johor east coast, especially Tioman, are the popular destinations in this area, but we avoided those as we wanted to avoid crowds. Instead, we headed to Rompin, where there is a decent beach that is not busy. Continue reading Long Weekend Johor Getaway

Shopback $750 milestone

I have just collected the cashback for my Hokkaido trip hotel stays, and this propels me past $750 in total cashback earned!

If you haven’t been earning cashback for your online purchases, now is a good time to get started. Why wait? –> Sign up link <–