Lex III: Actioni contrariam semper et æqualem esse reactionem: sive corporum duorum actiones in se mutuo semper esse æquales et in partes contrarias dirigi.
That was Newton's third law of motion. In English, it simply means:
Law number 3: To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.
Although I disliked - no, actually I hated - Physics when I was in school (I blame my teacher for this. He was the most boring bespectacled man ever to have walked this Earth and his sole justification for his existence was to turn this whole world into one boring place by spreading his boredom into cryptic messages masked as Physics lessons), I was rather intrigued at this particular law of motion.
I must confess that I had found this 3rd law by pure accident (it was either never taught by that bespectacled man or I was in the toilet lighting up a stick when it was taught) much later in my life when I was reading about the Physics of car racing!
The thing which I understood was this. When my race car is stationary on the track, there are actually two forces at work. One pushes the car down onto the tarmac. The other one - believe it or not - is actually pushing the car up from the tarmac! Without the force which pushes the car up, in theory at least, my car would be swallowed by the tarmac.
I was like, OMG! Really ahh?
And of course when my car is trying to V-max itself (V-max is racers' term for achieving maximum speed from your car, which in a car churning out 603 bhp, is almost completely seat-wettingly insane!), there are two forces at work too. One is pushing the car forward and one is actually hitting the car directly from the opposite direction.
Of course, I am not about to suddenly get an A+ for my Physics and change my profession (all of you who master Physics and use the darn subject to earn a living should not shudder in fear of me being a competitor, ever!).
But the thing is this. This 3rd law of motion is amply demonstrated in our daily lives.
Take Minister Idris Jala's earth-shattering announcement that Malaysia should cut and eventually stop giving subsidies to her people or else she would go the Greek way into bankruptcy by 2019.
I mean, shit man, I thought. If I don't start paying 5 bucks for a litre of Petrol soon, the country would go bankrupt Joe! Die!
And if Ali the driver and Aloysius Ang the ikan bilis seller do not pay 8 bucks for a loaf of Gardenia soon, our country would, in 2019, be bungkus-ed man. BUNG Kus (this is not a variation of Bung "my marriage is valid" Mukhtar, okay).
So, there is one force at work here. We should cut subsidy and the people should start paying the real price for essential goods. Otherwise we would go bankrupt.
But Newton's 3rd law of motion would not be complete without an opposing force, right? Yes, right.
While all of us were just trying to fathom the enormity of - and come to asshole-like grip with - the whole cut-the-subsidy-or-we-would-go-bankrupt shyte (pardon the pun, but it is inevitable, today being a Friday and all), the requisite opposite force came into the picture.
And boy, didn't it hit us like a ton of shit, eh, bricks?
Yes. We are spending RM800 million (Ringgit Malaysia Eight Hundred Million) to build a new palace for a family to live in for five years at any one time. No tender was called. Included in that awesome piece of masterful architectural and engineering project is RM130 million for a fly-over from Jalan Duta leading to the palace. And a sum of RM30 million for the upgrading of roads leading to the palace.
Awesome. I must say. Newton would have been proud.
Bankruptcy is one force. Opulent spending is the opposite force. Brilliant.
The thing which makes me go into a fit out of sheer delirium is this. The guy who tried to explain why the figure had increased from the initial RM450 million costs for that project to the current RM800 million had actually said that the RM450 million was announced before negotiation with the contractor.
Excuse me. Is there a 4th law of motion here, namely, everything which moves will move into a hole of stupidity? I don't think so, ya?
From my rudimentary knowledge of the art of negotiation, people negotiate to get the best price or deal. Not to get a deal which is far worse than the offerred deal in the first place. Now, if you apply this basic principle of negotiation, wouldn't the initial sum of RM450 million be maintained or even reduced after negotiation with the contractor?
How could the price be actually increased after negotiation. Like me asking the Punjabi looking guy at Masjid India, "eh, ini jam Lolex how much ah?" "50 ringgit Bro", came the answer. Then I say, "ermm...200 ringgit boleh?" The guy smile and say, "okay Sir, you awesome Sir."
Is that how the negotiation was done?
Then I remember sometime within not too a distant past someone big said, "there will be transparency and all contracts would be subject to a tender process." One force at work. The transparency force.
Of course, the opposite force to transparency would be the force of secrecy. Yes. The works for the construction of that project were never subject to open tender. All were done by way of "negotiated" tender. The negotiations had of course, culminated in an increase of the project value. Awesome example of the 3rd law of motion.
Frankly, I became so obsessed with this RM130 million fly-over that I had actually gone to Jalan Duta to have a look at it. I saw this. From the place where the fly-over is going to start to the palace, the distance must be about 3 kilometres, at the most. Ok lah, make it 5 km lah.
That would mean the costs of the fly-over would be 26 million Waka Waka per km. Awesome stuff here, mate.
After all the hoo-haas about the 800 million palace, I would have thought Newton's 3rd law would have been satisfied.
No. Apparently now we are going to have a new Parliament building. And guess how much the costs would be?
Yes. 800 million.