There was a time when the computer motherboard you bought were all Taiwanese branded ones. Well, enter China into the market, and you guessed it, they devour the budget segment.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – motherboard
Well, I’ve only recently signed up with Dash, the payment platform by Singtel, mostly out of curiosity. I’ve noticed their ads at Food Republic food courts for the longest time, but never felt any urge to give them a try. I did so recently, just to check if they offered any good deals.
What do you know, they are running a promotion that is actually pretty good, valid till 30 Sep 2019. 5% cashback on Qoo10 and Lazada (capped at $2.50, on top of the usual 1% Shopback cashback), as well as for purchases of groceries at Fairprice and Sheng Siong, among the rest, with no minimum spend requirement. You may shop at each of these merchants once a day and receive the 5% cashback, and it is credited into your Dash account by the very next day, which means the money is practically available for use by your next transaction.
By the way, from 12-15 Jul 2019, there is an additional 10% off with promo code plus 5% cashback on Lazada.
If you’re wondering what Dash is about, it’s like a prepaid credit card account. You get a virtual Visa credit card number every time you need one for a transaction. I didn’t keep track, but you’re probably assigned a new virtual credit card number every time. This is unlike the Youtrip card where you get a permanent Mastercard credit card number. For foreign currency transactions, i think Dash does not offer a better deal than Youtrip though. There is an ongoing 5% cashback deal (max S$5) for overseas spending valid till 30 Sep 2019 as well, might work out better than Youtrip.
No better time to sign up with Dash than now (get up to $3 cashback when you make your 1st transaction)!
I bought a portable monitor not too long ago for use in conjunction with a Compute Stick or as a replacement monitor for my aging laptop (soon ten years old). Well, it was too bulky to be placed over my laptop monitor to become the replacement literally, and i had this brilliant idea of finding one that does.
As mentioned in my previous post, i never liked the built-in display of the laptop, being very low resolution (1366 X 768) and having very washed out colours. I used an external monitor almost all the time. If you’re wondering why i got a laptop, well, it’s for portability when i need it.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – Portable monitor
If you’re into history and food, these destinations may be of interest to you. I took advantage of a Jetstar promo and bought return tickets to Jieyang/Shantou for only $64. Here’s my itinerary:
Jieyang airport is about half an hour from Chaozhou, an hour away from Shantou and two hours from Meizhou. You may actually start your trip from any of the three cities. For me, Shantou seems to be the logical place to start. The Jetstar flight timing is such that by the time you’re checked into your hotel, it’s almost time for dinner.
Fuyuan is the place to be for Teochew dishes.
After dinner, we took a long stroll towards Xiao Wu rice rolls (小吴肠粉), stopping by Suning mall along the way.
The Shantou old city area is worth spending half a day to check out. Various traditional food outlets are littered throughout this area.
First stop, Laomagong (老妈宫) dumplings. It is named after the temple across the street, which is near the centre of the old city area.
To relieve the stomach from too much food, we visited the Shantou development museum, which is free admission and interesting enough. Still quite stuffed but had to proceed with lunch, at Fuhecheng (福合埕), just to check it off the list.
There are frequent buses to Chaozhou, although it is somewhat annoying that the bus spends half an hour picking up passengers in Shantou before actually starting on the journey to Chaozhou. It is also possible to take a train to Chaozhou and the trip takes only half an hour (vs more than an hour by bus), but you may have trouble finding a taxi when you arrive! In fact, this was the biggest problem we faced when in Chaozhou. The taxis don’t go by meter and you have to haggle over the price. More importantly, you may not even be able to find a taxi when you need one!
Other than this very distasteful tourist trap of being swindled every time you need to get around, Chaozhou is a pleasant place to be, despite being very touristic.
You could say this was the day when everything went wrong. My plan was to take a train to Meizhou. There was conflicting information on the train schedule and it turned out the 11am train I was hoping to take was no longer available since years ago. Lesson learnt: the train schedule that is actually available for booking online (via ctrip website for example) is accurate.
It’s unfortunate that Chaozhou and Meizhou are not well connected. There is only a single train trip per day at 530pm and two bus trips at 915 and 3pm respectively. The situation will be much improved when the high speed rail link is launched later this year (2019). If you’re interested to go to Meizhou, you might want to hold off your travel plans until the high speed rail is operational. It departs from the high speed rail station near Jieyang Chaoshan airport.
Anyway, I decided to catch a bus to Jieyang and transit to another bus for Meizhou. Little did I know, there was a detour from the usual 2 hours route from Jieyang to Meizhou due to road closure, and the journey became 4.5 hours! Anyway, this was still the best outcome possible, being able to arrive at Meizhou around 6pm. If I took the 3pm bus from Chaozhou or the 530pm train, I would have arrived at 8pm! It was raining the whole day anyway, and I may not have been able to do much anyway if I arrived at the planned timing 1pm.
My original plan for the day was to visit the neighbouring small town called Songkou as well as the Nanyanfei tea plantation (雁南飞茶园) and Qiaoxi Hakka village (桥溪古韵). Instead, I moved the itinerary I had planned for the day before to the present day, and thankfully it worked even better this way.
The plan for the day was to buy Hakka goodies and to have the final meal in Meizhou. The 1230pm bus arrived slightly ahead of the scheduled 230pm at Jieyang airport. Given we had more than 2 hours before the check-in counters open, we decided to explore the neighbouring villages. There isn’t any public transport at all, so we took a taxi to save some effort (the nearest village 孙畔村 is actually within walking distance). The fare had to be higher (20 Yuan) because the taxis usually take people into Shantou and Chaozhou instead of the nearby areas.
We knew we would arrive at the airport too early, so I did research and found out there were villages in the vicinity of the airport worth checking out.
Having been to Swatow and Teochew, i discovered that a lot of the food that many identify as “Singaporean” are actually Teochew. Here are the proof:Continue reading The Teochew connection
The easiest way, and actually still relatively inexpensive way to go about this is to use a local SIM card with data roaming activated. I say it is relatively inexpensive because it cost only $8 for 1GB of data over a week if you use a Starhub prepaid card, and I think it is wise to do so. Forget about buying any other types of prepaid SIM card, or worse, renting a WiFi sharing device. M1 data passport is also very expensive ($25) in comparison.Continue reading The cheapest way to access Google, WhatsApp and Facebook on a trip to China
Yong Peng remains the best lunch stop, timing wise, when traveling down to JB from KL. 688 coffee shop is a lively place with 5 stalls, which is considered a high stall count for Yong Peng. There is the drink stall that also sells Bak Kut Teh, Assam fish and porridge. There’s also a chicken rice stall, a Wanton noodle stall, a Tze Char stall and a soup stall (fish balls, pork ribs etc.).Continue reading North-south highway lunch stop – Yong Peng 688 coffee shop
Want instant cool drinks but don’t want to dilute the drink with water? Then stainless steel ice cubes are for you. Just cool the cubes in the freezer as you would do with ice cubes, then drop them into your drink to chill it.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – Stainless steel ice cubes
I have previously bought this Bluetooth tranceiver, but ultimately it didn’t work well. In fact, it died. I suspect it was due to charging the battery while it is in use at the same time.
Well, i now got my hands on a Bluetooth 5 transceiver. It runs on the Qualcomm CSR8675 chip, which is probably the market leader. I ordered a pair so that i can be assured of the most reliable wireless audio transmission possible, but alas, the seller only shipped one unit, and refunded me the payment for the second unit. I will probably have to order another one next time.
Anyhow, i tried pairing this lone Bluetooth 5 transmitter with the built-in Bluetooth receiver on my mixer, and the result was fantastic! The audio quality was really spectacular, despite the Bluetooth receiver on my mixer being at most Bluetooth 4.1 (it is unspecified).
I tried using the Bluetooth transmitter while charging it at the same time and it resulted in some high pitched noise. I guess it is generally not a good idea to do so, the circuitry might be damaged.
I highly recommend this Bluetooth transmitter/receiver. If you need SPDIF input/output, you can get the bigger box and it cost only 20 Yuan more.
Before i proceed any further, i must put forth the disclaimer that i have not purchased the product from Taobao that i am introducing today. I still own and use the Anova circulator i have gotten many years ago.
My Anova still works flawlessly, but the clamp for holding it to the pot has broken off. Having used a Sous Vide circulator, though only on and off, i think it’s actually quite worthwhile owning one.Continue reading Taobao product recommendation – Sous Vide circulator