One person can make a difference

We all have friends who have gone the extra mile to help others.

I have one such friend.

Twentytwo13’s senior copy editor Purwaiz Alam is witty, friendly, upstanding, willing to speak out for what is right and someone with a heart of gold.

In case you missed it, last Saturday, Alam celebrated his 61st birthday by walking 26km to raise awareness and funds for the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO).

The target was 25km but he did an extra 1km as a tribute to those who had supported the cause.

All in, Twentytwo13’s Project 60.1 raised RM14,100 for WAO’s children programme while the association collected an additional RM11,000 from other well-wishers.

Alam had also shaved his head bald on Nov 17 to raise awareness on the plight of cancer patients.

He had previously shaved his head in 2014 and 2015 to raise funds for children with cancer Then to celebrate his 55th and 56th birthdays in those years, he went homeless for two nights each time to raise funds under the auspices of a charity group for the hardcore poor.

I’ve known Alam for more than 25 years and remember our days in theSun,, The Malay Mail and now Twentytwo13.

We had quarrels but many a good meal and get-togethers.

He demands perfection and that brings out the best in all of us.

He is an example of how one person can make a difference.

So, belated birthday greetings Alam!

Anyway, today is the 263rd day of the Movement Control Order and this is the 25th weekly edition of ‘The MCO Diaries’.


It was a bit of a mixed bag of Covid-19 cases this week.

We had 11 deaths on Thursday – the second highest-ever in a single day. Twelve was the most recorded (Nov 3).

But yesterday, we had zero fatalities – the first time there were no new deaths since Nov 1.

In the past week, fatalities went up by 26 to 376. The number of cases reached 70,236 after 8,375 new infections.

The good news is that recoveries continued to climb. We have a recovery rate of 84.1 per cent after 8,857 more patients were discharged from hospital in the past week.

This figure was helped by the 2,112 recoveries on Monday – the third-highest ever. Only Nov 26 (2,555) and Nov 25 (2,348) saw more recoveries in a single day.

Worldwide, there are more than 65.6 million cases with 1.5 million deaths.

The United Kingdom has Europe’s fourth-highest tally (nearly 1.7 million cases) but the most deaths, surpassing 60,000 on Thursday.


I have been working from home this past week (which is probably why I haven’t been moaning about idiotic drivers, traffic jams and parking issues on social media).

However, I agree with the picture below which a friend sent to me earlier this week.


There was a record ‘Black Friday online sales’ as pandemic-wary Americans filled virtual carts instead of real ones.

Consumers spent an estimated US$9 billion (RM36.54 billion) according to Adobe Analytics, which tracks online shopping. That was a 22 per cent increase over the previous record of US$7.4 billion (RM30 billion) set in 2019.

For the record, Black Friday is the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States and has been regarded as the beginning of its Christmas shopping season since 1952.

Why black? Because accountants use black to signify profit when recording each day’s book entries (and red to indicate a loss), the day became known as ‘Black Friday’ – or the day when retailers see positive earnings and profits “in the black”.

I can believe those figures as online shopping has taken off in Malaysia.

You can get good deals online and I’ve spent more on online shopping since MCO was implemented on March 18 than I ever thought possible.



With Christmas less than three weeks away, here’s a recipe you may want to try.


Last week, ‘The MCO Diaries’ highlighted the appearances of a monolith in Utah.

It then mysteriously disappeared before one appeared in Batca Doamnei Hill in northern Romania. That too disappeared before a third monolith was discovered in California two days ago.

Some are speculating it could be an elaborate PR stunt but a reader sent a WhatsApp claiming this is the real explanation.


I’ve always been a fan of author Robert Rankin who writes what he calls “Far-Fetched Fiction” in the hope that bookshops will let him have a section to himself.

Rankin dabbles in music as well. Here’s a quirky, toe-tapping number he recorded with Phil Cowan.

The song is a tribute of sorts to one of Rankin’s characters – Lazlo Woodbine – “the last of the 1950s private detectives”.