27 December 2007

Tire Puncture :(


Look what happened to my tire? Luckily I wasn't the one driving the car when the tire had punctured. Nevertheless, as the owner, I had to rescue my car. As the car was stopped next to a highway, it was pretty dangerous changing the tire.

Even with the car parked all the way onto the grass, and only a quarter of the car on the emergency lane, I assure you that, you'll be shocked at how close those Trucks and Lories are travelling to the emergency lane.

I parked another friend's Mivi about 10 feet behind my car, to block and give better visibility to the truck drivers. It took us about 15 min to change the tires.

20 December 2007

Pot Luck at Eric's


As you would have realised, my parents are away and wont be back for another week or so. While they are away, I could got some friends over for dinner and drinks. More like a social gathering, or at least that was the plan. As you can see from the photo above, we were all enjoying ourselves.

I cooked some Tom Yum friend rice, and some carbonara... again (as requested). Even before all the guest arrived, I had to recook more carbonara. Venice and her housemate, Yin Yin made an excellent Fruit Salad, topped up with some Nata De-Coco. Yu Jeen brought the drinks along. Mun Fong has some jelly and ice cream for dessert. Jennifer brought some chicken wings and her friend Penny brought along some chocolates and mud cake.


As you can see, after dinner, we had some party games. We played card games, and the not so fortunate was punished to drink alcohol! Not too much, between the 8 of us, and 2 hours, we only finished 1/2 bottle of the Black Label. Honestly... that is nothing to be proud off.

Had a very enjoyable evening. Had nice food,, enjoyed the party games and drinks. An enjoyable evening for the all of us. For the most of us, this is our first time meeting each other. Cheers everyone! :D

16 December 2007

Eric Cooks Dinner... Disaster?

My parents are away on a trip to visit my sister and their 3 grand children...
FREEDOM!! Yes the cat is away, and the mouse is here to stay!!

Decided to cook dinner for some of my friends. Got really ambitious and invited like a bunch of people. But since it was so last minute, only a few showed up.

Dinner was almost a disaster... Normally I would be like cooking 1 item. But NOooo... Tonight, I decided to have Soup, Salad, Mash Potatoes and Carbonara...

Normally I would get cream to cook carbonara and used the remaining cream from the Cream of Mushroom soup. Yes it is the same one from Campbells, but the secret is... some cream and fresh mushrooms... yummy

DISASTER struck... the soup tasted funny... WHY? why was it sweet? OMG... the soup is sweet, how could it be... I checked the cream, and it was sweetened... FARK... I am so screwed, I just poured the remaining cream into my bacon used for the carbonara...

I tried adding some salt into the soup, to neutralise the sweet taste... NOPE... it could not be salvaged... It just tasted weird... the soup was salty but had a sweet after taste... weird isn't it?

The disaster was far from over. I now had a huge serving of carbonara which tasted sweet. What could I do? I tried adding some salt, but soon realised that it was a complete write off... All my time preparing for my carbonara... GONE...

OK, don't panic Eric... I quickly went out to the store to purchase more bacon and cream. Yes I double checked the new cream. NO MORE SWEETENED CREAM...

The soup was GONE. There was no turning back... Into the sink it went...

The Japanese style Mash Potatoes turned out well. Had some when I was in Penang at some high class Jap restaurant. I know my business partner Adele would be impress if I made some for her!! :)

I also prepared some fresh salad. We had the freshest Lettuce and the sweetest Cherry Tomatoes. Topped up with some cucumber and Italian dressing (from the bottle), it turned out perfect... phewww...

Now, for the finale, the carbonara, my main dish... how was it? Shouldn't be too hard, as I have cooked it many times. One of my specialty dishes... "Excellent Eric!!"... A pat on my back... :)

Dinner overall was OK. I manage to return from the grave. I just had no time to prepare the Cream of Mushroom soup, even though it was from the can. Maybe next time, I would be more ambitious and prepare it from scratch. I have read the recipe... not a simple dish, but not impossible...

Yes, I do enjoy cooking. I enjoy cooking for my friends as we could all sit around and chill out after. Come on, if someone invited you for dinner, you may turn them down... but if someone is cooking for you, would you turn them down?

I am sorry, there are no photos of tonight's dinner. Promise to capture some the next time.

15 December 2007

An Afternoon At Synn's Place


It is the time of the year again. Normally every year, at about Christmas time, we would all get together at Synn's place. Yes, to some of us, she is also known as Cindy Siah. This year, it came a little early. Synn would be back only for 2 weeks, and she decided to have a lunch gathering instead. It was a great afternoon spent as we were all able to catch up with each other.

Hmm... have I really lost weight? A few people mentioned that I have lost weight... what do you think? I do eat alot nowadays, especially junk food. I am constantly consuming Mamee and Twisties... the few possible reason why I may look thinner is that I am really stress from work, or my Tshirt just look a little tight :p

Synn works in Singapore and hardly comes back to KL. We all had the opportunity to meet up with her this trip, but the gathering was cut short as she had to spend some time with her boy boy.

Yi Ling is back from Melbourne for a few weeks. Didn't get to catch up with her much. She was too busy gossiping with all her gfs.

Ai Wei looked great and congratulation to her on her new job... one that is more relaxing and gives her more time for herself. She is now a CONsultant at her new company...


Poh Yee as usual, beeing her cheery self. We may have a "date" next week... hehe... maybe accompany her to Genting on one of her stock take trips up :p ... Uncle Lim, here I come!!

Look who showed up? Hui Ni wor... surebo... I managed to take her new Blue VW Beetle for a spin. It is a cool car... but the real car that I would love to try is the Red VW Golf GTI. 200bhp I was told, and a real pocket rocket. Yes Li Lian hint hint!!

Mee Goreng @ Bangkok Lane, Penang

Anybody staying in Penang, would have heard of the Mee Goreng at Bangkok Lane. It is Famous... so famous that even my mom eats there... my mom ... no kidding... well as you can see, good food does not distinguish between the age, as well as the great generation gap :)

In general, I am not a fan of Mee Goreng at all. Situated at the corner of Bangkok Lane, where my new retail Chai now resides, I had to give the Mee Goreng a try. There were not many options, but I was told that if you ordered the "chili" version, get ready to be blasted to the Moon, as it was seriously out of this world spicy. Then again, maybe its just the general Penang standard of spiciness...

I as usual, ordered "no chili" version. When the food first arrived, it looked very moist or a little on the wet site. The colour of the mee, looks as if the noodles were glowing orange... They too served the whole table at once, showing that they cooked in bulk.

"Didn't I tell them no chili? Hmm anyway, here it goes..."

The Mee Goreng is excellent! It may look wet, or a little on the glowing orange side, but it was great. It had small squids in the mee goreng which taste good too. Finally I understood why, there were a long queue for the take-away.

The food is not over-rated! Overall I will give the Mee Goreng a 4.5/5 stars. I was impressed with it, as I normally don't eat Mee Goreng. This would be an acception!

Out of towners, do give it a try. You'll not regret it.

14 December 2007

Pork Noodles @ Sunway

Today we will do a review on the Pork Noodles I had for lunch near my office the other day. It is situated at the Mentari Business Park block, just round the corner of the McDonalds. I must say that, not all Pork Noodles are created the same! The only other great tasting Pork Noodles acceptable to my taste buds, is the one in PJ State.

The one that I had, is a little different and best ordered with Instant Noodles (Vits), instead of the usual Yellow Noodles and Mee Hoon. Please add the optional Egg into the soup if you prefer it. It tends to give the soup an egg yolk taste. Like all other Pork Noodles, it will be served with pork balls, mince meat, some intestine and some vegetables. The soup is really tasty and goes extremely well with the instant noodles.

The Pork Noodles is so delicious till I have to lick the bowl clean.... joking... I reckon it must be drugged or something. Actually, probably a whole ton of MSG, as I do get quite thirsty after the meal! Hmm... does that mean, anyone can be a Master Chef by just sprinkling some MSG?

Poh Lian seen eating with the optional Egg in the soup


Conclusion
It is one very delicious Pork Noodles! Although it may contain a little excessive MSG, I reckon it is one of the top Pork Noodles around. Overall, I will give it a 4/5 star.

11 December 2007

Where is my Sunshine?

It has been the most gloomy last couple of days. It seems to be gloomy and rainy in the last couple days. This morning, I got up and it was drizzling... I went to work, it was drizzling... I went to lunch, it was drizzling... I went for dinner, it was drizzling... I went for supper, it was drizzling...

Ohh... I just got home, and its 3:32 AM... and its STILL drizzling...

"WHY? Sky... are you against me?"

Anyway, where is my Sunshine? I hope I will see you tomorrow... I wished that you would just brighten up my morning and the whole week...

03 December 2007

New Food Blog!!

Just got back from a week long trip from Penang. Will post some interesting stuff over the next few days. Posts will include the wedding I attended, and some on the street food that I had over there. And not forgetting the bachelor night photos!

Over the trip, I had a discussion with one of my close friend, and we have decided to start a new food blog together. We would start with a 3 person team, with a dedicated writer, video/still cameraman and also a food reviewer!

We had a long discussion and it sounded like a great plan. So I'll be blogging most of my food review at the new blog. Now all we need to do, is to get it started!! Can we? Are we?

02 December 2007

Chai Boutique is now Open!


I managed to sneak into the shop early one morning to capture these photos. As you can see from the photos, it extremely well done up and very cosy. I must give full credit to my business partner Adele, for organising all the renovation and everything else. The time and effort used to select the simplest items, from the curtain material of the fitting room, to the cushion covers on the sofa. Even the antique tables and chairs chosen goes well with the place.

Bangkok lane is actually a residential area. A very nice area, just at the border of all the Pulau Tikus commercial hub. As it is an old house, from the 1950s, it retains an British heritage feel. You'll notice the front door comes with colour glass panels and the floor of the hall has some really antique tiles!

Friends who are in Penang, please do drop by my new retail shop. It has a wide selection of ladies clothing, as well as accessories and shoes. We'll be adding evening wear and dinner gowns within the next few weeks.

01 December 2007

Adele's Birthday @ Chai Boutique


It was a Saturday afternoon, just after lunch. Most of us, are taking a rest from the previous nights Wedding dinner. Some had massive hang overs, while others were busy catching up with local Penang food.

It was the first time for the most of us to have visited the Chai Boutique as it was not officially opened. Only close friends were invited for the little gathering. A few were back from Australia to attend Kevin & Mei Yee's wedding, while the rest were from KL.

Most of the ladies had a look at the dresses, accessories and shoes while the guys just chilled out at the cosy area exchanging stories. It was a relaxing and cosy afternoon. A little surprise birthday cake was organised for Adele as today was her birthday.

We had a really good time chilling and hanging out at Chai, but it all had to end early as we had to attend the Kevin and Mei Yee's open house. We would also have a long day tomorrow, as we would be doing the traditional "Wife Pick Up" ceremony. I just hope the bridesmaid don't prepare any Wasabi for me!!

29 November 2007

Bachelor & Hen's Night - Kevin & Mei Yee's Wedding

This was the game plan
The guys meet at Wee Kang's place, while all the ladies met at Mei Yee's place. Two separate groups to attend two separate unforgettable evenings. At least this is what we told the soon to be newly weds.

The REAL game plan
After picking up the gang, we would tell them, that we would be attending a karoke session. What they didn't know is that, we would actually meet at the same karoke session! And boy, did we have a great plan to humilate them!!

What REALLY happened
The bride to be was seriously tired and she felt asleep at Wee Kang's place. We were waiting for the rest of the people from KL to arrive. We waited and waited and waited... Finally when they arrived, it was too late to do anything. Both the bride and groom thought they had it easy... Boy were they WRONG!

We decided to go ahead with the plan. We gave the groom, a sexy pair of undies and a bra filled with pears, topped up with grapes as the nipples. We provided the bride to be with a cucumber and 2 mandarins, which resembles the mens... ahem... private parts...


Penang 29th

Thursday morning... The contractor promised that everything would be done today. The only major pending items was the toilet. It was still in a major mess the night before.

Thankfully the toilet looked great when we walked in. All renovations completed. Just more cleaning to do!

Furniture were being moved in. Sofa, coffee table, stools, tables and chairs came in today. So did the fridge and other electrical stuff, like the fan and water boiler.

I spent the afternoon moving all the woman's clothing from my business partners home the retail shop. I had to move racks and racks of clothing. It took quite a few trips before it was completed.

Spent the evening just cleaning up the place, and organising the shop. Unpack stuff from the boxes, move things around. Wipe the tables... you know, just like moving to a new home

We worked till quite late evening, but had to return home early as we had to attend a Bachelor and Hen's night. Wait for the next post... really exciting stuff planned for them both!! :p

28 November 2007

Penang 28th Nov

Today was such a long day........ Started the day by running a few errands. We applied for Streamyx and got the modem before heading to the shop.

I spent most of the afternoon installing the Clothes rack we would be using on the retail floor. It is one of those, DIY ones. At the start, I thought it was such and easy task and would complete the job hands down. To my surprise, it took me about 30 mins to built each rack. I had 6 in total to built. It was really a tiring job. Note to self, building Clothes rack is not for the faint hearted! Yes my right hand is still aching from all the building!

Spent the whole evening building the racks and cleaning the upper floor of the retails place. All the lights, and air con are installed. The toilet was still in a mess before we left today. They are still doing cementing the floor and all. Tomorrow, the carpet guys would be installing the carpets on the upper floors. I would need to move all the floor stocks and all other items after the carpets are in. Probably need a few car rides to complete the move! Loads of stuff!!!

The fitting room area and all the built-in cabinet have also been installed today. Tomorrow, our main task is to clean the ground floor. It is no easy task as the place is filthy. With almost everything done, the bulk of the work would be cleaning and moving the stuff to the retail place.

Got the plan... let see how it goes...

Penang 27th Nov - 3rd Dec

The drive up to Penang was tiring. The journey took a set back when I stopped my car to pump some air into the tires and the car couldn't start after that. Battery problem I reckon. Luckily I was at the Shell Station at the Tapah stop when it died. Call up the PLUS people, and they soon came to my rescue.

My car was jump started and I was on my way. I made very sure not to stop the car again. Yes that means, no more toilet breaks! I soon arrived in Penang, shortly after 2pm. Work commenced immediately. No rest for the lazy!!

We ran a few errands, purchasing some last minute items for the new retail shop. Tried to open a new Maybank Current account, but they required so much paper work... needed an introducer... Come on, you'll be making money from us wor...

Anyway, we stopped by the retail shop. Everything looks well. The upstairs is almost complete. All the upstairs require is the installation of the air con, lights and carpets. Of course it needs a BIG clean too!! Very dusty.

As for the downstairs, they were completing the painting when we were there. The toilet had some renovation error, and hopefully will be fixed within the next day or so. The lights and air con will be installed today. Will be spending the whole day of today cleaning up the new place. Very very dusty due to the renovations.

Will try to capture some photos of the new retail shop. Let see what the days brings. I am sure my day is jam packed again!

27 November 2007

Curry Mee @ Ah Loy, OUG

I am sure many have tasted and tried the Curry Mee at Ah Loy's and it needs no introduction. Ah Loy is situated in Taman OUG, at the row of shop houses behind the BHP Petrol station. For those who have never tried it, it is one of the best Curry Mee around.

It comes with a very generous serving of chicken pieces (not those shreds of chicken) as well as some cockles (see hum) and some deep fried pork skin (pictured above!). The deep fried pork skin, is either loved or hated by some. The soup is unique as it is very thick! Loads of santan (coconut milk) in the soup, making it really rich in flavour. Just perfect!

Conclusion
The Curry Mee at Ah Loy's is one of the best around. I have never tried any other curry mee that comes close to this. The extra lemak soup makes it truly unique. If you are a big fan of curry mee, you have got to try it! Overall, I will give it a 4.5/5 stars.

26 November 2007

Top 20 Bah Kut Teh in Malaysia (Part 1)

Not too long ago, a person called Guan Ming reviewed and did a
Top 20 Bah Kut Teh list. It was published in some chinese papers. Being a big fan of Bah Kut Teh, I wanted to see what the hype is all about. Come on, who has NOT eaten before a FANTASTIC Bah Kut Teh?

My friend Kevin Lim from Penang, forward me the list of the Top 20 Bah Kut Teh in Malaysia. I have copied the info from list and publish it here. I would, hopefully over time, visit most of these BKT places.

First I would like to give full credits to Guan Ming for his BKT review and the person who compiled the list. I had also pinched the photos from that file, so credits to whoever owns the photos.

The Quests for the BEST Bah Kut Teh begins!


Top 20 Bah Kut Teh in Malaysia
(Sorted by Location)

Klang


Name: Kedai Makanan Seng Huat
Address: 9, Jalan Besar, Klang
Tel: 012-3098303, 012-3987355



Name: 巴生毛山稿肉骨茶
Address: 876, Jalan Besar, Pandan Maran, Klang
Tel: 012-3123125, 012-9042421


Name: Kedai Makanan Teck Seong
Address: 29, Jalan Batai Laut, Kaw 16, Taman Intan, Klang
Tel:
012-3076843


Name: Restoran Lai Choon Bah Kut Teh
Address:
116, Jalan Pekan Baru, Off Jalan Meru, Klang
Tel:
012-6521659


Kuala Lumpur

Name: Kedai Makan Sekmechoy
Address: 199, Jalan Besar, Salak Selatan, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-79823132

Name: Restoran Sun Hong Muk Koot Tea
Address: No 35, 37, 39 & 41, Medan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-21414064, 03-21480905

Petaling Jaya


Name: Restoran Chiew Sang
Address: 15, Jalan SS 3/37, University Garden, Petaling Jaya.
Tel: 012-3320608
Name: Heng Kee Bah Kut Teh
Address: 16, Jalan 1/10 (Old Town), Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-77851663, 012-3331063

Selangor


Name: Yap Chuan Bah Kut Teh
Address: 41 & 41A, Jalan 1, Taman Tanjong Karang Baru, Tanjung Karang, Selangor
Tel: 03-32691785, 012-6744440

Name: Restoran Ah Hock
Address: Lot 2260, Lorong 7, Jalan Besar,Tanjung Sepat, Selangor
Tel: 019-6066288, 03-31974696

24 November 2007

Robin's 21st Birthday @ McDonalds, Centerpoint

Robin: Eric, Robin here arr....
Eric: hmm... ohhh Robin, how are you?
Robin: Ehh, want to invite you to my birthday party la, on the 23rd of Nov...
Eric: 23rd arr.... hmmm..... shouldn't be a problem la.... where is it arr? and what time?
Robin: It is at McDonald's, Centerpoint...
Eric: huh ... *WTF* ... ok ok ... cool, I will see you there...

No Robin (aka Binny) is not some 12 year old who is celebrating his birthday at McDonald's. You see, he is celebrating his 21st... The story goes like this, since he was a kid, he had been celebrating at McDonald's for many many years, until his teenage years. He thought, why not have his 21st at McDonald's again... for old time sake ...

Celebrating at McDonald's wasn't a bad thing. In fact, I thought it was very cosy. We had the whole 2nd floor to ourselves. Many many people attended and there was ample food to go around. Just sitting there, chatting with your friends, while munching on some chicken nuggets, fries and Coke seems to be the greatest idea!

Photos have been re-sized for web purposes. People who wish to print the photos, can obtain the original files from me.




23 November 2007

eBay.com.my Roadshow @ 1 Utama

Carol Fung giving a short 20 mins workshop
There is a eBay roadshow happening at 1 Utama this week. Naturally I dropped by to visit. At every eBay event that I have ever visited, I am sure I will see Carol Fung at the heart of the event. She is the most helpful eBay seller that I have known. She probably spends more time helping new eBay sellers than she spends selling on eBay. She is Malaysia's eBay ambassador if you asked me!

Location: One Utama Shopping Mall, Promenade, 1st floor, next to Baskin-Robbins
Date: 17 Nov 2007 (Saturday) – 25 Nov 2007 (Sunday)
Time: 10.00am – 10.00pm

Drop by the roadshow to sign up or to claim some goodies. I believe there is also a lucky draw for new members, as well as existing members. Go win yourself some goodies!! GOOD LUCK


PS: Anybody seen Chris? She wasn't there when I dropped by wor?

22 November 2007

Withdrawing Paypal Funds via Credit Card

Withdrawing to Credit Card, Debit Card or Prepaid Card
The funds that I withdrew to my Visa credit card came through. I withdrew on the 17 Nov and the funds came in yesterday. About 5 days in between. The rates that the local bank had converted for me is at about 2.9934 (RM to 1 AUD) which is a very decent rate. The rate is almost the market rate, as stated as x-rates.com. Overall, it it was a painless process and would be recommended for people withdrawing minimal funds from Paypal.

Advantage
  • Ease of withdrawal as all Malaysian Paypal members would have a card with the system
  • Quick and painless. Straight to your credit card. Able to withdraw Cash via ATM or offset your CC bills!
Disadvantage
  • Max withdrawal limit per day of $500 USD
  • Flat fee of $5 USD, which is 1%
Conclusion
With the ability to withdraw your Paypal funds to your credit card, anyone can now sell internationally on eBay. Perfect for those starting out. A little troublesome if you have huge funds coming in, or if you are selling high priced items.

Hokkien Mee @ Paramount, PJ

I have heard many mentioned that there is a famous Hokkien Mee around this neighbourhood. So one night, after badminton with my brother Rick, we decided to roam the streets of Paramount... in search for the the famous coal cooked Hokkien Mee. We reckon we found it, as everyone who eats at this place, too orders the Hokkien Mee.

Name: Restoran Millennium Eighty Six
Location: Situated behind Caltex petrol station at Paramount, Petaling Jaya
Price: Less than RM 10 per head
Overall Food: 3.5 / 5 Stars


This place cooks Tai Chow after dark every evening. When we first arrived, we were not too sure whether is this the place, but after noticing the cooks adding coal to their cooker, we realised that we must have hit the jackpot. Not only that, it was the only place with people eating, while the rest of the area seems a little dead and deserted. As you can see in the photos above, they cook using coal!


Hokkien Mee
As you can see from the photos, I am refering to the KL's version of Hokkien Mee, not the Penang's version which is the Prawn Mee. The Hokkien Mee was cooked with loads of lard. Excellent tasting, but a little oily if you asked me. Not too sure whether could I taste any different if they used a gas cooker instead... Since I am not a big fan of the Hokkien Mee, I can only give it a 3.5/5 stars only.

Pork Ribs Yee Mee
The Pork Ribs Yee Mee was a little different from the others I have eaten as they have added some chillis and capcicums. By adding the capcicums it has given the Yee Mee a little extra chilli smell and flavours but not the spiciness. Overall the Yee Mee was great and the pork ribs was nice and tender. I too would give it a 3.5/5 stars.

Conclusion
Travelling to Paramount seems a little far for supper if you asked me. The food is nothing to shout about. Taste good, but not fantastic enough for me to dream and crave for it all week long. If you craving for some Hokkien Mee, give it a try. It may be the only few places that still cooks with coal! There should be another famous Hokkien Mee somewhere in Kota Damansara. Anybody knows where is that?

20 November 2007

U-Village, Sungai Wang

Let's start my very first post with some food review. U-Village's food is Hong Kong style, similar to Kim Gary, but much better. They have a huge variety of food, and generally, they are all good. This place caters for the lunch time crowd, so it will be full during the weekdays as well as weekends. It is situated on the outside of Sungai wang, on the street between Sungai Wang and Lowyat plaza off Jalan Bukit Bintang.


Pan Fried Rice Noodle with Beef
My friend decided to order this dish as it was marked as Chef's Recommendation on the menu. The rice noodle was very tasty. Beef was very tender and the serving was generous too. I would give it 4/5 stars for this and would order it again if I do return there.


Club French Toast
U-Village has an good variety of Toasts. Today I decided to try the Club French Toast. The toast is actually made of 3 pieces of bread, with peanut butter and banana as the filling. The bread is then coated with egg before being deep fried into a crunchy toast and then covered with chocolate syrup and condense milk.
Overall the Club French Toast was good, but it could have been better if they were more generous with the peanut butter and banana fillings! The toast was a little too rich and sweet, and best eaten if shared with your friends. Overall, I would give it a 3.5/5 stars.

Conclusion
I would recommend trying the Golden Box Toast, which is actually Toast served with Curry Chicken. Quite a big serving and could be eaten as a main meal.
My personal favourite toast is actually the Sweetened Milk and Peanut Butter Toast. It is simple French Toast filled with very loads of peanut butter and topped with some condense milk! Highly recommended.... by me!
Overall the food has never been dissapointing and generally good. If you are ever in the Sungai Wang area, swing by and try the food.

Application Checklist for Selling on eBay

I am sorry if you find my more recent posts a little more advance than the usual. Originally I planned to write about all the basic stuff on how to setup Paypal or eBay accounts, product selection, selling and packaging.
Due to the shortage of time, I have decided not to follow such a structured plan, but instead write articles that I am currently exercising at work. This way, I would NOT lose any details. Imagine coming back to write this same article in 3 months time, I am sure many details would be lost.

Today I will be migrating one of my working PC to a newer one. I would be migrating some data from Turbo Lister as well as other data. I will create a checklist and a process flow which would make the migrating an easy task. I would also have a todo checklist to ensure that all future migration would also be a walk in the park.


Applications Required for Selling on eBay
  • Web Browser - Mozilla Firefox* or Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • eBay Listing Application - Turbo Lister*
  • Photo Editing Software - Google's Picasa* and/or Photoscape*
  • Web Page Editor - Microsoft Frontpage or its equivalent
  • Spreadsheets - Microsoft Excel or its equivalent
  • Word Processor - Microsoft Word or its equivalent
* Essential items. Free applications. Highly recommended.


To be more prepared, please have the following items ready on CDs (or External Hard Drive), in the event you need your system to be up and running fast!
  • CD-RW with the following applications downloaded
    • Mozilla Firefox
    • Turbo Lister
    • Picasa
    • Photoscape
    • Openoffice - Microsoft Office's free equivalent
    • Data Files backed up from Turbo Lister (weekly)
    • Photographs used for eBay backed up (weekly)
    • Emails backed up (weekly)
  • Microsfoft Office CD
  • Microsoft Operating System CD (XP or Vista)

19 November 2007

Opening Speech

I have been reading other people's blog for a long time now. I realised that, in this modern age, where everybody is busy, the only way to still keep in touch with your friends is to read their blogs. Of course it took me a very long time to actually start blogging myself. As usual, why should I blog, if I would just stop after 2 weeks...

After many many weeks of contemplating, I have decided join the band wagon and start blogging. It won't be all dramatic and all too personal. I have decided that my blog, would include the following few topics that all of us can relate to
  • Food
  • Travels
  • Friends
  • Fun and Games
  • Digital Photography Tips
  • Silly and Stupid Situations
  • On a Serious Note
Now that I have the recipe for success, I only hope that I could put in the time and efford to post at least 3 times a week. So let's go!!

17 November 2007

Withdrawing from Paypal - The Issues!

This is probably one of the biggest issues Malaysian have when selling Internationally. Since anyone can setup a Paypal account, just by registering with an email address, but for the most of us, it would be difficult to withdraw the Paypal funds.
The sad thing is that we in Malaysia would not be able to withdraw the money directly into our local banks. If you were staying in Thailand or Singapore, you would, but not for us poor Malaysians.

You can buy many ebooks from online teaching you how to withdraw money from Paypal or ebooks teaching you how to set up an US bank account. I have personally bought all the books and read every single one. I'll tell you now, save your money and just follow my free advise.


Methods to withdraw from Paypal
  • Withdrawing to one of the overseas banks in US, UK, Australia, Singapore or one of the listed countries. And from that overseas bank, you could TT back to Malaysia, or just use the bank's ATM card to withdraw in Malaysia. You can check the list of Countries that Paypal supports via this link.
  • Withdrawing to your local Malaysian Credit, Debit or Prepaid Card.
  • Selling your Paypal funds to other Malaysians who are able to withdraw their money.

Withdrawing to an Overseas Bank
I personally have an Australian bank account while I was residing in Australia. I have also applied for an US bank account through an agent while in Malaysia. I would say that applying for an Oversea Bank account would be the best option for long term trading.

Option 1:
I would like to say that, there are many ebooks out there that promises you the ability to apply for an US Bank account. You could try and apply for it after reading those ebooks at Etrade.
I had opted for the safer approach and went through an agent. I would say that "Don't risk it and get it done right, the very first time." Sure enough, I got my account approved within 3 weeks of application. It was worth every penny I paid for, as there would be a phone interview from Etrade. Of course, my agent had already armed me with all the possible questions and recommended answers.

Option 2:
Alternatively you could apply for a Hwang DBS account in Singapore. I was told that you don't need to be a Singapore resident and you wouldn't need a Singapore address to apply.

If you have noticed, both the options stated above, you are actually apply for a online trading account. Yes it is probably the only way they would grant you an bank account. All online trading accounts would need to be linked to a Bank account. Naturally when you apply for a Online Trading account, you receive both the trading account and a bank account linked to it!


Withdrawing to your local Malaysian Credit, Debit or Prepaid CardUntil like a month ago, we at Malaysia had no way of withdrawing our Paypal funds. Only recently they had introduce the ability withdraw to your Credit, Debit or Prepaid Cards. To withdraw via this method, there would be a $5USD fee involved and a maximum of $500USD withdrawal limit per day.
I would recommend this method when you are starting off on selling Internationally. If you are only starting off this is the most convenient method available. Only the you have huge amount of Paypal funds, you may consider applying for an overseas Bank account.
I have tried withdrawing via this method and will write more about it in another post.Full withdraw instructions available from the following eBay link.

Selling your Paypal fundsThis is probably the most unsafe method there is. At times desperate people would do desperate things. How it works is that, you offer to sell your Paypal funds to another Malaysian. They would normally transfer the agreed amount to your Malaysian bank account, while you send the agreed Paypal funds to their account. It may not be the best method, as you would not get the best exchange rates and you may not sell all your Paypal funds in one transaction. Trading your funds itself is another ball game... Is it safe?
You can view these trades at the following link.

Conclusion
I would recommend withdrawing your money into your registered Credit, Debit or Prepaid Card that you had registered with eBay. This is probably the most convenient method for the most of us, specially when you are just starting off selling on eBay.
When you have consistent sales, I would like to trade long term, you should apply for one of those Overseas Bank account.

16 November 2007

Checklist - Selling Internationally with eBay

Checklist for Selling Internationally on eBay
  • Credit, Debit or Prepaid Card
  • An email address used for registration on eBay
  • An email address used for registration on Paypal (may be the same as the above email)
That is it!!

Previously we would also need to apply for an US, UK, Australia or Singapore bank account to withdraw money from Paypal. Currently you will be able to transfer money into your Credit Card, or Debit Card straight from Paypal.


Credit, Debit or Prepaid Card
This is the most important thing that you'll need to start selling on eBay. My recommendation is to use a Prepaid Card. You'll have 2 choices for Prepaid Cards here in Malaysia. Both are readily available. The easiest is to rock up to 7-11 and purchase one.

Your options for Prepaid Cards

  • AmBank NextG Mastercard
  • Eon Bank MOL FREEDOM Mastercard
A few good points for using a prepaid card is for security reasons. In any event that there is any issues, or stolen CC numbers, the max they can ever withdraw is the amount you load into your card. In regardless, you should always practice safe security measures!!

Email AccountsMy recommendation is to used of those free email accounts like Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail. My personal recommendation is to use Gmail. A few key points that I have chosen Gmail over the rest are as follows
  • IMAP support
    • All your email will be centrally stored on the server. You are merely syncing your local mail client (eg. Outlook) with the master copy on the server, unlike POP services which downloads the mail. All your mails will be synced across all the mail client you use, whether it is your home computer, laptop or any other computer. It is perfect if there are more than one person running the eBay business. Even all the sent mail will be synced across all the mail client. Isn't that just cool!!
  • All sent mail are stored
    • In the event that you choose not to use the IMAP service and decide to go with the POP service, it would be good to know that, all your sent mail will be stored on the Gmail server. This is perfect when you are on the move, and would need to quickly check your mail using a web base client. "Hey, didn't I send the mail from my Outlook the other day..... damn the sent mail would not be shown on the web base client..." WRONG!! All mails sent via your gmail account would be stored.
I would personally recommend that you use 2 different email address to apply for your eBay and Paypal account. It is good to know that, you'll have all your day to day eBay emails going to one of the account, while the 2nd one would be use solely for Paypal. Please use two different password for both email accounts. This is for security purposes!!

05 November 2007

How it all started...

Now that I have finished explaining about selling in local Malaysian sites, I'll move on to the more interesting topics. Today we shall take a trip down memory lane before heading to the more advance parts, Selling Internationally.

How it all started...
It all started, by chance about 3 years back. I wanted to buy this CF to IDE convertor. After searching the web and eBay, I realized that sellers on eBay are selling me the item at cut throat prices. I decided instead purchase it from a wholesaler from China. In order to get a very good price, I had to have a minimum purchase of $250 USD.
Come to think of it... what was I thinking? I wanted to get a $10 USD item, and ended up with lots more than I needed. To fill my $250USD order, I order all the stuff that the wholesaler carried, like the 2.5" HDD external casing, memory card readers and many more computer accessories.
At that time, I had NEVER bought a single item from online before. Not to mention, hearing horror stories of Chinese from the mainland sending you boxes filled with rocks!! Anyway, my package arrived soon after via DHL. They made a killing from postage too!!!
The joy of receiving the goods soon turned into fear. I had boxes filled with computer accessories that I didn't need. It was pretty expensive, and the total with shipping came to over a thousand Ringgit. What would you do if you were in my shoes?
I started by disposing the items online. I have never sold anything online before. I had no idea and nobody to help me. It was a lot of trial and error at the start. I started by posting the items I had at the lelong.net as well as ebay.com.my. Any sites, that was free, I tried selling my stuff there. Soon after, I was doing pretty well selling the computer accessories at lowyat.net. I made some profit and some enemies as well. My aim was to dispose of the items quickly, so I sold the items at very low prices. In the process, I killed the market...


Friends or Foes?
I made many enemies at the early days at lowyat.net. I remember selling these Sony VAIO 2.5" external casing at the forum for like $20RM. My competitor at the forum was selling at about $28RM. I remember it as it was yesterday, when the competitor PMed (personal message) me. He told me, not to sell the items at such a low price, as I was killing the market value of the goods. Being me, and arrogant at that time, I replied and told him that I was making a profit and screw his opinions. At that time, I only had 20 of these VAIO casing to sell. The next replied came, still in a calm tone, he said that he was willing to buy off all the casing off me. He told me that he had like 200 units and with the crazy low price that I had set, it was in his best interest to retain a better market value by buying me out. Soon after I realized that I was in the middle of a real business. There was money to be made. A huge margin too!! After a few days, we became really good friends. He made me an offer and allowed me to continue to selling the VAIO casing while he stopped selling it, with the condition that I purchase the VAIO casings off him, instead of importing from China.
There was no turning back from that day. I was doing very well, and sold many things at the forum. The partnership was formed and I continue to purchase stocks from my new local supplier. No doubt the items cost a little bit more, but I did not need to bare the risk of importing them directly from China as well as I could purchase the things in small quantity. WIN WIN if you asked me.

Selling Internationally...

Not long after doing very well at the forum, I became very ambitious. I tried selling on ebay.com.my. The sales at the Malaysia eBay were horrible. The reason why I sold there was because it was FREE. Soon after that, I tried selling at a international level. I posted my goods at Australian eBay. Fees were very expensive, at about $1.09 AUD for each item. People from China were selling items at ridiculously low price. Way below my cost. I continued to sell, but soon realized that I could not compete with the Chinese.
One of my friends, asked me to help her disposed of her T-shirts online. She had some from her previous business venture. After selling a few T-shirts internationally, I realized that I was making profits from the sales. Not like those breakeven deals on the computer accessories. Soon after, I slowly changed my inventory from computer accessories to T-shirts. Today I sell mainly clothing and have exited the computer accessories market for more than 2 years.

Experience….
I must admit it wasn’t an easy journey selling at the internationally level. There were the ups and downs, as well as many obstacles I had to overcome to be where I am today. I have created a system and made many tools over the years to help me run my eBay business. I have read and tried every trick and tools there is. Every day is still a new learning experience for me. I still learn new tricks. I still find ways to optimize and simplify my business. I decided to start this blog, to help my fellow friends get off the ground and profit from Selling Internationally. Hope it will help my fellow Malaysian friends….

GOOD LUCK and Happy Bidding!

29 October 2007

Forum or Auction Site? (Part 2)

I am sorry if the reader of my articles find it a little boring. I am trying to run through the basics of selling locally, before heading over to the more interesting parts; Selling Internationally and making some serious money!!

Following up from the previous article I would now like to discuss the pros and cons of each site. By understanding the different type of sellers available, we would be able to understand why they chose to sell at those sites.

Forum Site
People normally sell on the forum sites because of the following few key reasons. Forum sites are always free and very informal. People normally start by selling or trading their old and unwanted items. Others would try to do a bulk service at a forum based site. Since you do NOT actually have the item, you are making an offer to purchase the goods as a group. A forum would be the ideal place for the bulk service. People could discuss about the product, while waiting and hopefully get enough people to purchase the item in bulk. Check out lowyat.net.

Auction Site
When the word auction site is mentioned, everybody would think of eBay. Naturally everybody would think of eBay as it is the worlds largest and most successful online auction site. In todays post, I would only be discussing about our local ebay.com.my and not the international site ebay.com.
In an auction site, selling is normally very formal. Everybody who visits an auction site, are either a buyer or a seller. Unlike the forum, people don't chill out and discuss stuff (talk about NOTHING) the whole day. Most auction site would have fees involved too. This would be the main reasons why people don't sell at an Auction site. While fees may be an issue, the higher barrier of entry will also cause less competition. Check out lelong.com.my and ebay.com.my.

Conclusion
As you can see, depending on what you are selling, or the reason for selling, you'll be able to chose the best site to sell your items. Selling bulk would only work at a forum based site as it may takes months before getting enough people. The serious sellers who make a living from the net would generally use an Auction site. The auction site would have more buyers. There would be special tools too, to help you with faciliting your sales.
Generally people start by selling or trading their old items. Some start by doing bulk services. After selling a while, they would realise that it may be easier to sell on Auction site, rather than a forum as there are so many more potential buyers and also more seller tools.

An Auction site is made for selling and buying while a forum is made for discussion between the members.

27 October 2007

Forum or Auction Site? (Part 1)

Continuing from my previous post, I would to discuss about the difference between selling on a forum site or a paid auction site in Malaysia. I have personally sold on all 3 sites. Each site has its own pros and cons.

Who sells on these Sites?Before we discuss about the difference between a forum or an Auction site, I would like to discuss about the different types people who sells here and why they choose those sites.
  • Businesses or individual selling new items for income
  • Individual disposing or trading their used items
  • Individuals who bulk items in hope to purchase certain items at better than market prices

Selling for income
In this category, both business owners or individual sell things for income. They either purchase items from locally supplier or import directly from overseas. Business owner generally sell their items to promote their retail shop whether it is an online shop or a physical shop. Individuals normally sell items for a fraction of the market value, as they have little or no overhead working from home. Their aim is once again for income, normally as extra to supplement their full time job.
Selling/Trading used itemsThis is very common on why people start to sell or trade things online. Being a techie and gadgets person, we are constantly upgrading our "big boys toys" whether it is our computer, the mobile phone, consoles, cars or any other expensive hobbies that us guys may have. In purchasing a new item, we wish to dispose of our older items while it still have some value. A great example is the mobile phone. Nokia just released a new phone.... if I could sell my old phone, I could get the new one!!! :)
Bulk Selling
Generally asians are very kiasu and would always try to purchase things at a bargain or heavily discounted. Come on, who wouldn't want to buy an item at 70% discount? But not always we are able to purchase things that we need or want at a bargain. At times like these, we would need to create the opportunity to buy at a good price.
Let's say you wish to buy the new Sony 42" LCD TV. First you locate for the local supplier/importer. He tells you that you would need to buy 10 units to get it at a special price. You would offer 9 other people the opportunity to purchase it at this special price. When you do manage to locate 9 other people who are interested at the same item, you would then purchase the items at the wholesale price. This is what we call a bulk service. We would be buying at the best possible price (wholesale pricing) assuming that the seller is NOT making a profit. Sometimes a bulk services may take weeks or months before they are able to locate enough interested parties. Everybody saves from this method, but at times the minimum quantity for the bulk services could be quite hard to achieve.

25 October 2007

Selling in Malaysia

To some, selling in Malaysia may be a better alternative to selling internationally. I'll run through the advantages of selling locally and name a few local sites that you could try selling at.

Advantages to Consider
  • Little or no cost required
  • Little competition
  • No logistical and packing issues
  • Payment is via local bank services
  • Start by selling locally before proceeding to selling internationally
Local Selling Site
  • lowyat.net (forum based selling)
  • lelong.com.my (fee based auction site)
  • ebay.com.my (free auction site)
I'll run through the difference between selling on an auction site or a forum in my next post.

24 October 2007

Selling Locally or Internationally?

I am sorry for not updating the blog earlier as I have been flat out with work.

To most people, when they hear about selling online, their perception is about selling locally.

Don't get me wrong, selling locally have its advantages too. So does selling internationally! I have made a simple table for comparison below

Selling Locally
Selling Internationally
Advantages
Competition is low. Able to monopolize the market.
Higher profit due to Foreign Exchange. Bigger volume due to bigger market.
Common Issues
Local market is small. Depends on what items you selling.
Very steep competition at the international level causing certain margins to be thin. Shipping times long.
Competition
Low. Not many local players.
Very high. Competition with people throughout the world, specially the up and rising chinese from the China
Profit Margin
Low to Medium. Depends on products and competition.
Low to High. High margin are due to the exchange rate, able to profit from the Foreign Exchange. Low margin comes from super steep competition and saturated market, but makes up with the huge volume.
Volume
Low. Able to offset by having more items.
Medium to High. Medium volume comes from less saturated where, the profit margin is normally higher. High volume comes from saturated market and steep competition, but a lower margin
Shipping Cost
Low
High
Shipping Times
Quick. 2-4 days
Long. Up to 2 weeks to Australia & Europe. Up to 3 weeks to United States
Success Stories
Selling computer parts imported from China. Able to compete with retail shops where items are generally more expensive. Target market of computer users who are comfortable with purchasing online. Asians are always looking for bargains!
Selling decorative ribbons which cost about $3RM for about £1 at international levels. Huge volume. Internationally buyers feels at £1, the items are at a bargain.

15 October 2007

Why do people sell online?

Whoever: So Eric, what do you do for a living?
Eric: I sell stuff online...
Whoever: Online? Serious arr? Don't play la....

Those are the exact type of comments that I constantly get from people that I meet. People wonder whether would it be possible to make a living out off net.....

There is more than just selling for money. Many people do it for other reasons.

Most common reasons for selling online:
  • As a main or secondary income source
    • Most common reason. MONEY!! Who wants more money?! No arguments on that right?
  • To supplement their hobby
    • A comic collector may have to sell some of his comics to make more room for his growing collection as well as supplement his very expensive hobby.
  • To remove unwanted or used items
    • Many people sell their used technological items like computer parts, mobile phones or PDA as they upgrade to the latest toys. Who wants a 2 year mobile phone? Nobody right? Sell it while it still have some value.
  • As an excuse to buy more stuff
    • Many people believe that, by clearing their wardrobe, they are allowed to buy more clothes, the perfect excuse for someone who already have got 80 pairs of shoes :p