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Friday, June 18, 2010

Newton's 3rd Law of Motion - a case study

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.

No shit.


Fi-sha said...

Hi Art,

Can I use the word oxymoron to explain this Newton's Law of Motion in this No-Action-Talk-Only Nation? :)

That's a speciality of those morons that run around (not running) this country coming ou with that oxymoronic RMK10.

p.s.God, I thought I am the only one with that kind of Physics teacher (of course with rest of my classmates)! Crikey!

pinsysu said...

the only Force at work in the bolehland right now is the evil spirit ... left behind to haunt the rakyat not from the hell but very much from a living person ...

Anonymous said...

I actually do not worry about the cost of building anything in malaysia as our country is filthy rich anyway.After more than 50 years of playing the fool,our country is still solvent and that's is awesome.

My only worry is this;paying huge price for something doesn't exist.Meaning receiving invoices and DOs for goods purchase but without any delivery.

LAT said...

Hi Professor Art,

I doubt you went there just to check the distance (3km/5km) of the flyover but to survey where is the appropriate place for the "72" right ?

Another brilliant observation from Art.

Anonymous said...

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?

Hahahaha. What a riot you are!

Anonymous said...

Read the STAR9 (Must be the truth)The Minister of Sleep said that the initial quoted price of 400 millions was 20 years ago.

Are you saying that the contract was awarded 20 years ago? Or the contract was awarded at the price when a visit to Lorong Haji Taib cost your father 50 sen?

C++ said...

Bhai Art,

I've got the answer for the value of 800 .... It's all about multiplexing... They never user Newton 3rd Law but they user Moore Law (normally use by Intel to multiplexing the chip transistor) .... hahahaha

By the way... while surveying Jalan Duta... have you find the right spot for the 72 virgin? ... hahaha

Batang Berjuntai said...

Buailah tinggi-tinggi,
Sampai ke hujung atap;
Quotation dimark-up melangit tinggi,
Sama-sama mereka merentap!

Kalau menyeluk pekasam,
Biarlah sampai ke pangkal lengan;
Merompak rakyat sampai wallet lebam,
Harta timbun sampai ke batu nesan!

What force and law? This is their special force and law to collect wealth lah!

donplaypuks® said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donplaypuks® said...


There is a little known 4th Law of Motion discovered circa 1981 by Maha Firaun which states:

"Every contract shall remain in its state of rest unless actioned upon by impressed direct nego funds, and for every UMNO Bahru/BN action, there is always an unequal and opposite under-table Fund (F) reaction, the size of which is proportional to the mass of moola (M) multiplied by the speed of acceleration (A) of its acceptance, i.e.:

F = M x A.

Which is a universally applicable and proven LAW!!"

from the "Maha Dilemma!"

The rest is history!

That would explain how $1 million per km flyovers can cost $25 million per km and $400 million palaces and Parliament houses, $800 million!! Lol!

we are all of 1 race, the Human race

Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

Q: What Mahathir & UMNO/BN afraid of most?

A: Intelligent, responsible & forward thinking citizen. If it is a Malay, the scare factor x 2.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

Q: What Mahathir & UMNO/BN most afraid of?

A: Intelligent, responsible & forward looking citizen. Scare factor x 2 if he/she is a Malay.

Thank you.


desertbug said...

Great piece Joe !!! No joke lah, my physics teacher oso ledet one. But it was a she. Wonder if your teacher and my teacher ever met up and put that 3rd law into practice ?

The only law of motion that I know is applied daily in the toilet. Where some of the goon squad of negotiators belong !!!

Good lah you.

telur dua said...

What the bollox is a negotiated tender? How can it be a tender when it is negotiated, and with upping of the price?

I would love to have this goddam stupid Gomen as a customer. Like you said, I ask for 50 but they pay me 200.


Richard Cranium said...

I found myself nodding in agreement with everything you said except one.

I have never met any ikan bilis seller named Aloysius Ang. Ever. Just where do you get your facts, man.

Leithaisor said...

Suadara Art,

I sincerely believe that Newton and his laws may well be insulted to be mentioned in the same sentence as some of those whose decisions defy all laws of common sense, common decency and love for the common man.

Short of those folks being hell-bent on political hara-kiri or being devoid of any grey matter in their cranium, I simply cannot comprehend their decisions and actions.

Perhaps it is more appropriate to quote the Jedi Master Yoda, who was perhaps trying to articulate in Star Wars lingo the wisdom of Lord Acton about absolute power tending to corrupt absolutely, when he warned, "Beware the Dark Side of the Force..."

In real terms, the man in the street is already suffering terribly after the many excesses of Mahathir, the bumbling of Pak Lah, and now, the bewildering gradiose plans + worrying taxes and subsidy cuts Najib and his ministers have announced together with kepala pening flip-flops.

A nation which should have been on easy street with all its natural resources and manpower may become bankrupt a year before it is supposed to become developed. People are being hit right in their pockets down to the question of basic living expenses.

Anonymous said...

800 million for the new parliament building is pre-negotiation. Final price will be 1.6 billion.

Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

The RM800 million price tag for the new parliament house is before negotiation. After negotiation with the contractor, the price will be RM1.6 billion. Of course this new negotiated price is justifiable because the winning contractor is the only one who can keep a secret and not let anyone in on the security details of the new parliament house to protect our BN (Bungkus Najis) parlimentarians. And of course the RM1.6 billion new parliament shall not have any roof leaks at any particular time of the month.

Kris said...

The Istana Negara complex to be built at a sum total cost of RM800 million was awarded to Maya Maju through direct negotiation. Direct negotiations mean NO tender was called for. This is AGAINST JKR guidelines that CLEARLY state that all projects costing beyond a certain ceiling ( I believe it is just RM10,000.00) have to be tendered out.

Checks with the ROC reveal that Maya Maju Sdn Bhd registered shareholders are Mr Ko Chin Teck (RM15,000 shares), Mr Lo Sin Li (RM85,000 shares). The directors are Ko and En Mohamad Muslim Hamzah. Encik Mohamad Muslim however is not a shareholder. Maya Maju Sdn Bhd in other words has NO Bumiputera shareholders. And they only have RM100,000.00 ringgit in paid up capital. Yet they were awarded a RM800 Million job without having to tender for it.

1. With such a paid up capital of just RM100k up they do not qualify to tender for projects exceeding RM1 Million as certified by CIDB WHICH JKR HAS TO ABIDE BY. This project costs at last count RM800 million.


3. JKR guidelines CLEARLY state that all projects costing beyond a certain ceiling ( I believe it is just RM10,000.00) have to be tendered out. This project was awarded out at RM800 million.

Every rule in the book was broken here. There are clear indications of abdication of responsibility, disregard for procedures and due process. Clear grounds for an investigation to be launched.

Bengkraplah Negara said...

We see an inexorable escalation of the economic torture of us folks. What used to be 10s and 100s of thousands in the 1960s became 10s and 100s of millions in the 1980s. Now, anything below 1 billion seems to be too small to mention; figures of 100s of billions are being bandied about brazenly. Wages and salaries, on the other hand, are stuck in the 1970s.

hari said...

no toll for this new road ah

teo siew chin said...

it totally boggles the mind how corruption not only goes unabated, it is now at the point of 'to your face'! what's gonna happen at the 13th GE?

firstly, let's persuade Art Harun to quit writing about Newton and stand for election :)

Anonymous said...

middleman in UMNO is getting costlier. no 100m,no shit no more. its RM800m and above or no shit.

ooi Jala, now you still think the bloody subsidies on sugar and rice will bankrupt us? go check out whats the subsidy for a packet of maggi mee in the army. Btw, Jala the maggi mee subsidy goes to UMNO middlemen. Jala, you still in MARS?

俊偉 said...


禎峰 said...


Antares said...

It had to be said and who else but Art Harun to say it and so artfully too! Laugh or cry, we have to put a halt to this Scorched Earth mismanagement style characteristic of Umno/BN - before it leaves us in a fiscal rut so deep we'll never see the sun again.

Anonymous said...

there are alot of "THINGS" happening in the bolehland..lets face the fact. Even if they built another 10 palaces, we CANT do shit about it. Thats the sad truth.. THEY JUST DONT CARE....sigh..disappointed

kongkor.com said...

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