Jaffry Jalal

My name is Jaffry Jalal and I have nothing fittingly witty to say right here just yet.

Yes, pronounced like ‘Jeffrey’ but spelt with an ‘a’ and without ‘e’. Not Jefrey with one ‘f’ though. Sometimes people get my name wrong (Jefri, Japprey, Fajjery and one time even… James) and it used to annoy me when I was younger. Conversely, snagging jaffry@hotmail.com back in the day was a big deal to me before becoming secure enough with my identity. But I still don’t like seeing myself in photographs. Even on a personal website homepage thing like this one.

Jaffry is a designer who navigates the messy intersections of insight, ideas, and creativity with human-centred coffee runs.

From time to time, he sometimes speaks in the third person, which can be somewhat disorienting or sound like something really momentous is going to show itself. But invariably does not. Most likely a mechanism to deflect attention from the fact that he identifies himself too closely with his work. Much like the reticent Ultra Magnus in the ’80s, who would mistake flaws in his work for his own. Jaffry ought to stop this pseudo out-of-body frame of reference and get back to the old-fashioned, apropos authentic, first person singular.

I dislike the taste of papayas, prefer pencils, and count up to the first eight digits of π.

Bond… James Bond… Swivelling James Bond I also count Timothy Dalton as my favourite Bond. When I grow up, daydreamed eleven-year-old me while watching The Living Daylights, I want to be a spy who can transform into Ultra Magnus. No career counsellor could help me down that career path.


Obligatory XKCD comic

I currently serve at Singapore Poly­technic where I coach people to create things.

Admittedly, ‘coach people to create things’ may sound pompous and deliberately enigmatic. It is, however, a lot more economical than saying that I create, make, build, facilitate and teach in the areas of inter­action, visual, and service design, advertising, art direction, and frontend proto­typing (with HTML, CSS & JavaScript) to help people tackle the unknown frontiers of the future with flair.

(Yeah OK, that last bit there was definitely pompous.)

For the past 17.11 years, I have worked as a creative in the guise of an experience design consultant, art director, UX lead, and the occasional code¹ monkey.

¹ Tabs, never spaces.

Once, at a job interview at an agency, I was asked what the greatest goals in my life were, to which I replied, “Almost any­thing by Robbie Fowler.” The creative director interviewing me didn’t laugh. Maybe I should have used ‘from’ instead of ‘by’? Anyway, I wasn’t laughing after that either. That weekend, I had the best iced coffee of my life. Ever.

To fight the tyranny of routine, I take little detours and brief excursions in search of coffee.

If you pinched your nose and drank coffee, the taste will be bitterly disappointing. [EDITOR’S NOTE: YOU WILL LOOK LIKE AN IDIOT DOING IT SO DON’T] Without the olfaction, coffee gustation lacks gusto. Coffee joints—here I exclude hawkers of coffee flavoured milks—transmit wonderful aromas that keep out the chatter of hipsters enthusing loudly about buying rope-dyed pants handsewn by anti-capitalist cool dudes living in a farming village where the aforementioned dilettantes also grow a special strain of salvia hispanica in limited quantities for their ’gram fam. As it were.

To rant about pants, suggest a caffeine detour, or just say hello goodbye, I can be reached at jaffry@dullneon.com.

I figured jaffry@hotmail.com wasn’t so hot when I could get my own domain name in 1998. Which I then did. (This one, not that one.) I generally avoid local coffeeshop kopi recommendations; my body fights back with gut-wrenching reflux. I’ll have ginger tea. It's fantastic. I actually know someone who knows someone who has this friend whose colleague’s ex-classmate’s third cousin, twice removed, makes a mean ginger tea for a living.

I am not super active on LinkedIn as I have real work to do

You can also find me on Instagram where I am cultivating an exclusive online-only image as a stand-offish, insufferable, browbeating know-it-all. Also, you may be having trouble deciding whether I am kidding. Or not. Henceforth, I will tell you when I’m kidding.

Despite the occasional funny joke, the current iterations of social media operate like global stock exchanges of posts, likes, hearts, streaks, tweets, retweets, and how many connections you have. Where community is mined for money. Where peddlers are called influencers. Where art is sacrificed for #content.

If anything, messaging platforms should be inter-connected, so we can reach anyone on any network with any brand of telephone an interoperable messaging app. (A possibility as likely as WeWork becoming profitable.) Even if someone cracked that chestnut, I wouldn’t really pay for it.

Most of the time, I don’t talk a lot.

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Truth be told, I spend a lot of time in my own head. (You may have figured that out from all these (sometimes overly nested) parenthetical interludes, eh?) As a teen, I kept a journal which wanted to be like Anne Frank but turned out just awful. As a young designer, I maintained a chronological visual reference journal, before everyone else and Stacey’s Mom started terming it a ‘blog’. It wanted to be the offspring of K10k and Anil Dash but became a random hoard of links, images and notes.

The damned dancing baby gif from the 90sPlease welcome to my homepage
My weblog

Click here

a horizontal seperator bar
This site is always under construction like a bench
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If you’ve reached here, then it may be that you thought my blog was awful. [It lacks some of that modern social media sharing button things. R.O.I, they say.]

Or you could be a loveless, soulless, headless bot harvesting for haplessly exposed emails.

The most useless captcha in the whole world

For unsolicited messages regarding copulatory medication, unbeatable loan packages, or money in escrow from Nigerian royalty, please correspond with this_is_not_my@realemail.net.

To proceed, please select your status—

Once upon a memory, I used to have a pen pal, who, one day, asked me, quite forcefully, to halt my correspondence. Was it because I was as vile as a spammer? Possibly, as in my letters to my erstwhile pen pal, I didn’t provide an unsubscribe link. As a wise fox once said, what is essential is invisible to the eye. And with that, I bid you adieu.

78.3% of visitors leave this website at this precise point

You’re still here.

Well, you know what? Despite the pinball chaos of speeding asteroids in space, we are all still here and quite alive on Earth, whose rotation is slowing slightly with time.

The time in Singapore is now 11:55pm. ².

² This is contingent on me being alive, of course.

With less than 7 continuous hours of sleep, my logic gates become foggy, instructions get processed far slower, and decision trees recursively devour themselves ßy br≡aching 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔤𝔦͡𝔩𝔡𝔢𝔡 ¢hasm between [this) wΘrld ùnd the previouš whích devours the peštifœroús hΦwl oƒ other lifeforms ǝɹǝɥʍ sı ǝɥʇ ɹǝuoɔןɐɟ, the <center> cannot… … hold. ░/ⁱᵗ ᵈᵒᵉˢ ░n░o░t░ ░c░o░m░e░ ጎክ የቿልርቿ dᴅᴇꜱᴛʀᴏyɪɴɢ ᴀʟʟ ɪɴ ᴜɴʜᴏʟy ȺđɨȺŧɨvɇ đɇsŧɍᵾȼŧɨøn with pain lea͠ki̧n͘g fr̶ǫm ̡yo​͟ur eye͢s̸ ̛l̕ik͏e of ]]c̶̮omes he ᵒh f⊥⊂k no NO NOO̼ comes N​ot rè̑ͧ̌aͨl̘̝̙̃ͤ͂̾̆ ZA̡͊͠͝L ISͮ̂҉̯͈͕̹̘̱ T -}O͇̹̺ͅƝ̴ȳ̳S̨̿̔̀ͅ…

More sleep is always good.

I found it really hard to sleep 7 hours a day. I was grumpy, lost all my friends, and wasn’t sure when to eat breakfast. So I went back to sleeping 7 hours at night. Worked out great.

Breakfast is the best meal on the planet.

The morning meal is an excellent way to celebrate that one has awoken from what turned out to be an impermanent rest. Lunch is better utilised for napping, meditating, or watching movie trailers. Breakfast for dinner is exciting because it feels like a transgression and yet no one gets hurt. I wish I could have a roti prata with fish curry for every meal. But because frequent fried food could induce a permanent rest, I save it for special occasions. Like weekends.

To eat whatever I want on weekends, I subscribe to a pescetarian diet on weekdays.

People ask why I don’t just say “a diet that's mostly vegetarian but also includes fish and seafood” instead of using a big word like pescetarian. To which I ask “Why use eleven words to describe something when one would do?” [You must be so popular at parties] It’s like using a HEX code instead of waffling around trying express a colour.

Currently, I am…

I have fixations over small things that change across points in time. The objects of fixation change, not the objects themselves, of course. However, if we are talking about transmuting stuff, I’d like to snap my fingers to convert my remaining 600+ music CDs into accurately ripped and tagged FLAC files without manually having to use XLD/RubyRipper and Picard.

Because I prefer the FLAC audio format, I usually buy music from bleep.com or Bandcamp.

I’m not that into Spotify or other cloudy music rental services. I prefer buying music outright if only to avoid the bifurcation of my existing collection. I don’t have a lot of money to pass down to my kid (I’m sorry, sweetheart) so my music—organised in intricately named folders—will have to do.

Current music rotation

My listening habits have been on Last.fm since 2005. If my reading habits were up online, it’d consist almost entirely of Google search results for whatever fatuous thought or fact void in my head. That’s what everybody with a smartphone and a stupid fast data plan does, right? Right?

Have I told you about that time when I got sucked into a black hole the size of my hand-held device because I felt like I needed to immediately know everything that I did not? This ‘need’ to know led me to cold dark places in my mind.

Skype icon Lanyrd icon Opera icon Wikipedia icon Linkedin icon Google icon       Disqus icon VSCO icon Wordpress icon Netflix icon       Instapaper icon Smashing Magazine icon       Hexo icon Amazon icon Runkeeper icon Pinterest icon rotated to look like the alphabet 'd'

We are continuously bombarded with more stimuli than we can actually process.

As we filter information, our mind gets hijacked by what we focus on.

I was going to say something quite thoughtful here, but my phone beeped. New message, important but not time sensitive…

But I’ve long lost my train of thought. I wish there was a way to keep in abeyance non-urgent, non-now messages in some kind of digital in-tray which I could periodically check at my own time. That would be nice. [Let’s call it s-l-o-w-c-h-a-t] Porlockian distractions aren’t any good for thinking, let alone creative endeavours; you never stay in the zone for long.

To slow down, I choose to go dark.

  • Switch to NotsApp Messenger to not send and receive messages, calls, photos, videos, documents, and Voice Messages.
  • Telegrump is the grumpiest app on the market, unconnecting people via a unique, distributed network of data centers around the globe to keep them cantankerously overloaded with information.
  • WontChat is a messaging and calling app that won’t allow you to easily connect with family and friends across countries.
  • With Unstagram Direct, you will be unable to send text messages and posts from your feed to groups and friends, allowing you to do what you do best: taking shitty photos.

I may also be one of seventeen people in this region who is not on WhatsApp (I hate hordes) and disturbingly owns a fax modem (I hoard). That is an unnecessary Venn diagram waiting to happen.

I just drew it, scanned it, re-sized it, and exported it

The luxury of not being on WhatsApp has social consequences: when you are not on the app’s contact list, friends can forget you exist. Which means I have a lot of free Friday nights. But I don’t get offended. I get nostalgic.

This sucks

I have never really been comfortable with 90’s phrased in the decade-apostrophe-possessive format because it isn’t …you know… possessive. Furthermore, the lack of an apostrophe in front of the decade is slightly alarming because we’re not talking about the first century but the 20th. Thusly ’90s looks more accurate. I spent the noughties thinking about this. Those were good times.

I attach excessive sentiment to discrete coordinates in the space time continuum.

Ah yeah… the good old days. When life was supposedly simpler. They say the past is always well-remembered owing to the distortion of peak experiences. Which prevents you from being in the present. Like really smelling the air. Or attentively tasting a raisin or two. Instead we get glued to our phones and miss out on human contact. Reading a book may be better — it makes the avoiding human contact a more deliberate and obvious escape from reality.

I recently finished reading .

I borrow/buy more books than I probably should. Every time I return home from the library or with an Amazon package, the unread books on my shelf always laugh at me. My e-books are much more polite and don’t do such things. Because I don’t even know they’re there.

And yet, I am almost always compulsively acquiring more things to read.

I’m also a sucker for mailing lists. Probably in my inbox right now: LinkedIn baiting me with broems of plasticised optimism, cool stuff from ‘Clark from InVision[I thought it was a Dutch dude actually named ‘CLARK VON INVISION’], Dave Pell’s excellent Next Draft, and a mutual fund factsheet from my bank that my inner bourgeois-self wants to know about.

Chart of the Standard & Poor’s 500 index

Economies go bust. Companies fold. People die. Rivers run dry. But everything that ends has a beginning. There are booms, bubbles, babies, and bodies of water that connect our world. Because happiness is energy, suffering is also energy. That was my takeaway from a slightly hokey chakra re-balancing meditation pamphlet I picked up at a Chiang Mai pizza joint.

Maybe we can understand more by reading what others may have figured out.

Non-fiction is a way to learn without actually getting hands-on experience. But if you don’t experience it, did you learn anything? But would you invest your money blindly without even learning soemthing first? But money isn’t everything. But you should read your Kindleberger. But a Kindle Burger would be a flat cake of grilled meat—usually beef—placed between two Amazon Kindles like a sandwich. But it’d be mostly inedible. But obviously.

Apocryphal stories don’t always end well, do they? Anyway, it’s nice you’re still here but you need to go. There’s so much out there waiting to be discovered. Let’s shoo start you off with an all-time classic: A random article on Wikipedia.