Ba Dao Guan, Chinatown, Singapore

In the middle of the hustle and bustle of Singapore’s Chinatown area is a great little restaurant called Ba Dao Guan or SiChuan Seafood Restaurant. Don’t let the name put you off if you’re not a seafood fan as there is a lot of non-seafood dishes on the menu.

I’d been to this restaurant a couple of times before on my previous visits to Singapore, so when I found myself looking for somewhere to rehydrate and get out of the searing midday I knew I’d be in for a good feed.

And, most importantly, you can get a long neck of frosty cold Tiger beer for the bargain price of S$6.95. You can’t get much better than that in Singapore.

Not being a seafood fan I opted for a couple of old classics. On my first visit I had a very good freshly cooked Roast Duck Curry and rice. For my second meal here a week or so later I chose Spicy Beef, Lemongrass & Kaffir Lime Leaves and it was magnificent.

If you’re in Singapore’s Chinatown you must pop in for a meal and cold, cold beer. If you’re not in Chinatown you know how cheap the Singapore taxis are so you have no reason not to grab a meal here!

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Brotzeit, Raffles City, Singapore

Brotzeit, it apparently means Bread Time, but in Singapore is a chain of Bavarian themed bars and restaurants.

Being Bavarian in theme you can guess what the menu looks like – Bavarian beers and lots of types of meats.

Being close to my hotel, well, it was in the same complex as the Swissotel Stamford, it was just easy to head down for a beer and feed a couple of times during my recent stay.

The tap beers are all Paulaner and there’s normally 4 on tap – a Pilsner, a Lager, a Dark Lager and a wheat malt. They’re all a welcome respite from the heat and humidity despite the price! Yes, beer in Singapore can be very expensive if you’re in a touristy area and they don’t have decent Happy Hour prices. But the prices don’t deter people from drinking here – in the early evening it’s almost standing room only.

Foodwise, there’s a selection of Bavarian and non-Bavarian dishes that are very tasty, freshly cooked and of reasonable size. Think schnitzels, sausages, burgers and pizzas.

A good, solid restaurant with a good menu, ambience and location.

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Gayatri, Race Course Road, Singapore

After a very hot and steamy morning walking around Singapore’s Muslim Quarter at Kampong Glam and then Little India a quick TripAdvisor search pointed me to a close by Indian restaurant called Gayatri.

Gayatri is a largish restaurant on Race Course Road, not too far from the Mustafa Centre or Little India MRT station.

I got there earlyish at around 11:30am but I wasn’t the first there.

The traditional paper menu that was at the door was replaced inside by a Samsung tablet which was not overly intuitive to use, and in fact I had to resort to asking the waitress to order for me.

I ordered a Chicken 65 and Butter Chicken, which turned out to be quite decent in size, along with a Garlic Naan. My order came out very quickly which make me think that some of the food is prepared in advance and served out of a bain-marie rather than cooked fresh for each order.

Taste wise the meal was quite good but could have been a little more spicy.

All that said, there’s a plethora of good food options in the area, so next time I think I’ll try another restaurant.

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Internet Forum Trolls – it’s my problem apparently!

I luckily don’t deal with too many trolls… but when you do its makes your blood boil, especially so when the forum admins condone the utterly reprehensible behaviour.

The background was that I’d bought a new Logitech Harmony Ultimate (which gives you a Harmony Ultimate Hub and a Harmony Touch universal remote). About 3 weeks after I bought it it failed with the LED on the HUB flashing red and the unit was unresponsive until is was restarted. I thought this was a glitch so restarted the Hub & Remote and it fixed itself.

The problem was only fixed for a little while until it returned.

When the Hub & Remote failed again I decided to see if this was a problem for only myself or was a wider problem. I went to the Logitech support forums and noted that I wasn’t the only person with the problem. Indeed I think I was post number 6 with atleast 4 people saying they were having similar problems.

Given this it seemed to be a known problem (and as of now we have ~30 people with similar issues) I decided to post to the forum with a “me too” in hope of help.

Things went slow for a while. It appears that even though these are the Logitech support forums they don’t seen to actively monitor the forums… what a FAIL!!!! I resorted to a Twitter poke and a post to our local Whirlpool forums to get some action.

After the Twitter prod we got some focus on the issue from Logitech and also from some Logitech support forum troll called “rhachey“. Rhachey seems to be one of those people who think that their worth in life if dictated by the number of posts (on topic or not) that they write on the internet regardless of whether those posts are useful or on topic.

What made me fume more was that the idiot posted pretty much saying “I haven’t bothered to read what you wrote BUT what is your problem?”. Mind you this was on page 3 of the forum so there were no more than 20 posts describing various people’s problems but the troll couldn’t be bothered reading the onerous number of posts describing the problems but, apparently loving the sound of his own voice, they had to respond to the thread with posts that added ZERO value.

I admit that in my response I “went the troll” and that got pulled up by the admins. Here is the exchange!

Them with the title “Keep it Courteous”

Your post was removed because it violated the “Keep it courteous” section of the User Guidelines.

Everyone wants to have a positive experience while on the Forums – please make sure that you are not detracting from any other user’s experience. In particular, please refrain from posting anything unlawful, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic, indecent, lewd, harassing, threatening, harmful, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, abusive, inflammatory or otherwise objectionable or injurious to third parties. Your opinions are always welcome, but personal attacks and harassment in the Forum, including through the Forums private messaging system, are not acceptable.

Thanks for your help in keeping the community a friendly, productive environment for all members.

OK, maybe I over stepped the mark so I responded to the admin

OK, I’ll keep it courteous… but that other guy is just a troll!

Apparently not

rhachey is not a troll and has helped hundreds of people on these forums.

OK, so this troll (and I still think they’re a troll) has over 15,000 posts on a support forums as a NON PAID participant and has helped, in the admin’s words, “hundreds” of people… that’s still the best part of 14,000 posts that have not “helped” people. I interpreted the trolls post as non helpful in my particular case in my response to the admin.

Well, in this case he is NOT helping, and he has admitted he didn’t bother to read the thread before responding and his posts are adding ZERO value to the discussion. That’s a troll in anyones book.

For everyone’s sake please tell him to stay out of this thread as it doesn’t concern him.

Well, here’s where the Logitech forum admins lose the plot… apparently it’s MY problem for posting the problem! WTF!!!

You came to this site looking for help, I suggest you accept what help is given and be respectful about it. As rhachey stated, too often people hijack a thread and to read through a complete thread everytime to see if it actually has something to do with that thread can consume a lot of time.

I think the Logitech forums admins finally got it when I responded as they’ve not got back to me yet

Yes, I came looking for help, not posts of ZERO value and admissions of people who respond haven’t even bothered to read the short (3 pages) of posts for the problem before they reply with a useless non response.

 Oh well, it looks like the other guy is a protected species and is seems post quantity rather than post quality is what counts… ok, I’ll play by your rules.

Why do multinational, multi Billion dollar companies, allow trolls on their support forums to hijack legitimate support requests and why do these same companies allow their forum admins to become beholden to forum trolls who’s only rasion d’etre is to to increase their forums post counts?

NEWSFLASH morons – no one cares how many posts you’ve had on a random internet forum! Get out of your mother’s basement. Met some people. Do some stuff. Travel. It’s very sad that your existence is defined by the fact that you’ve written over 15,000 posts in a support forum for company that doesn’t even pay you!

Logitech – pull your forums admins into line and tell them to keep the forums trolls (and post number sluts) under control. Your products are decent but you need to stop your forum admins and random internet fuckups hurting your own brand!

And fix the problems with your Logitech Harmony Ultimate (Harmony Ultimate Hub and a Harmony Touch universal remote) as you’ve got alot off pissed of customers!

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Mantra on Murray, Perth, Australia

I was back in Perth for the week and after my last stay at the lack lustre Duxton and previously the site of the world’s most expensive beer, the Sheraton Four Points, I decided to give another hotel on our Perth list a try. Of this year’s shortened list I chose the Mantra on Murray.

First impressions – the location is decent with many bars and restaurants close by and a 15 minutes walk to the office, but the impressions of the hotel itself once you get inside were not stella.  It was very easy to tell this wasn’t a classy hotel. The reception desk office area oddly had two rather larger industrial air conditioners jury rigged in the middle office area – looked very dodgy. In hindsight I know why there were there. More on that later!

Checkin was efficient and I was on my way to my room in less that 5 minutes.

Up in the lift to the 4th floor and the lift doors open to heat that would not have been out of place in a blast furnace. It was uncomfortably hot and no wonder they resorted to the portable air conditioners in the reception area.

Initial impressions of the room were that it was ok. On the largish side with  two seater couch & coffee table, desk, double bed and a small galley kitchen.

Two downsides that quickly became apparent

  1. the room just wasn’t clean enough
    • The bed side table wasn’t cleaned and had rings from whatever was placed there from the previous occupant
    • Massive smudge, that looked like a handprint, on the window
    • Carpet needed a much better vacuum
    • The previous occupant’s hair was still on the tiles in the shower YUCK!!!!
  2. the air conditioning unit (one of those reverse cycle contraptions) that was mounted under the window was the most complicated thing I’ve ever tried to set. In the end pretty much all I could do was set it to be always on at the lowest temperature. But that said it had a mind of it’s own and started to turn on and off randomly later on in my stay.

The bed was ok but the pillows were cheap and nasty and I needed to use 3 to get any support. My sleep was ok but fitful throughout the week.

On the plus side the shower, despite being an in the bath type and the extra human hairs :), had excellent water pressure and temperature. Made it very easy to wake up in the shower.

Checkout efficiency was similar to the checkin and was completed in 5 minutes and I was on my way to the airport without a hassle. Notably the hotel staff didn’t ask if I enjoyed my stay – maybe they get too many negative comments.

All in all, the Mantra on Murray would be a decent 2.5 or 3 star hotel… but I’ve already booked the Four Points for my next trip :)

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