Newton’s Third Law – For Every Action There is a Reaction

In the Newton’s third law, it states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object”.

In terms of physics, it literally means when you push against the wall, the wall pushes you back. But what if this Newton’s third law is applied to our life, human relationships and politics? What happens when you push against the world? Will the world push you back? Maybe. When the world pushes on us, we definitely push back, maybe in different ways. We react to change and ideas every day.

I truly believe that the Newton’s law applies to human relationships and life, although there is not yet a scientific way to calculate the force of action and reaction in it.

Your friend always turn up late or forgets an appointment with you? The reaction to his action is probably we wouldn’t want to meet up with him again.

Your partner cheats on you again and again? The reaction would most likely is to break-up.

You have a loving and caring spouse? Most likely you would love her back, maybe even more.

Petrol prices goes up? Most of us Malaysians would be queuing up with our cars to fill up the tank not knowing we have wasted so much while waiting.

These are all examples of action-reactions in our life.

Looking back at the nation a couple of months back, there has been several protests that have been on the news. The Bersih rally followed by the 916 Red Shirt rally to oppose the Bersih and then several more voices that suggested for more rallies; although it didn’t happen. In a way, these incidents can also be related to the Newton’s third law; the action and the reaction. Let us not judge on who is right or wrong in this case; I believe that it would be an endless argument as both has their cause to advocate for.

If we look at why would the Bersih rally would happen at the first place, there must be some actions from the Government that has made certain groups unsatisfied. These groups may be right or even wrong; but when they decided to run a rally to oppose the Government, they must be prepared to face a reaction by those who are supporting Government or the ruling party. Hence, the 916 rally happened. Again, whether it is right or wrong is another issue. We are lucky that there are no similar reactions that happened after the 916 rally.

When the Bersih supporters criticised the 916 rally supporters or the other way around; I find them absurd. Both groups have their reasons and objectives to advocate for; if one decided to organise a rally to support their cause, why the other group can’t do it.

If we want people to advocate for their cause in a moderate manner, then at the first place we must do it the same way. To me, both rallies are not equally helping the country in whatever way. Those actions has strike more reactions of anger, confusion, hatred and chaos. I believe there are still many more actions that Malaysians could take to create more positive reactions.

People can always argue that they are the ones who react to the others’ action; and they are not the ones who have started it. But if nobody takes the effort to end the reaction; then it will keep on going forever. We, all Malaysians must learn that everyone should be responsible in stopping all those negative reactions and start putting in the positive ones. As it has already been proven that Newton’s third law doesn’t happen under every circumstance of our physical world; which the speed of light and the molecular level are two such conditions where Newton’s Laws don’t hold up. I believe the “Newton’s third law” in human relationships can be “undone” as well.

Malaysians now are more politically aware today compared to the past generations, and most of them would like to participate in an advocacy. But do bear in mind; we are living in a nation with different groups of people, in particular ethnics. It is easier to spark chaos compared to other countries. Therefore, we must be very mindful of our actions in advocating for each other’s rights. And we can always use the moderate way.

As the popular phrase says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Let us begin by putting positive actions and respond with positive reactions.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 23rd October 2015.

All Schools Must Be Maintained

For the past one month, there has been calls by various groups of people, including politicians, academicians, and even the grassroots to implement a single stream education system for the sake of unity in Malaysia. In fact, it is not something new and has been advocated on and off since decades ago.

Of the Concerns

By nature, the Chinese and Indian Malaysians are usually the ones that advocate maintaining the vernacular schools due to several obvious reasons. Throughout the years of reading articles and listening to the people; I noticed that there are two major concerns of the Chinese regarding the matter of the education system. The first is the fear of losing the mother tongue and vernacular schools are one of the main educational institutions that teach Mandarin. The second is the responsibility to preserve Chinese culture in schools including the name and origin of the schools. Of course there are also other concerns such as the ownership of the school, the management of the school, funding, and examinations.

Of the Unity

In a nation with different ethnics, “Understanding” is needed to achieve unity with different cultural backgrounds. To attain “understanding” among the people, I believe there are two key factors that we need to look at: language and communication. Most of the time, people argue or fight with each other is due to misunderstanding; and avoid it, we need to make people understand each other through communication. To have an effective communication, the basic thing that is needed is to speak the same language.

The Education Blueprint is for Vernacular Schools and Unity

In the latest Malaysian Education Blueprint for the year 2013 until 2025, it is obviously written that vernacular schools will be maintained and implemented. In achieving unity, the Education Ministry plans to ensure that the education system provides all students with the opportunity to interact with individuals from a range of socio-economic, religious, and ethnic background as well as geographical locations. This is to make the young people to learn to understand, accept and embrace differences. The measures to achieve the goal includes raising the Bahasa Malaysia proficiency; scaling up the RIMUP programme to encourage intergroup friendships through co-curricular activities; introducing a compulsory community service component; and revising Moral and Islamic education elements.

The current situation of schools

Although there are one major race enrolling in each school, however there are also other races who are studying in each type. For instance, in the SK schools, there are students from all ethnics in the nation. In the SJK (C) schools, although the communication language is in Mandarin, however there are still Malays and Indians children enrolling into it.

According to the 2011 Malaysia Education Statistics; in SK schools, there are 94% of Bumiputera students, 1% of Chinese students, 3% of Indian students while the remaining are from other ethnics. Meanwhile in the SJK (C) schools; there are 9% of Bumiputera students, 88% of Chinese students, 2% Indian students and 1% from other ethnics.

To put it short, it means that the Government allows any Malaysian to enrol in any type of school as they wish to. There are no barriers for anyone to enrol in the type of school that they wanted.

Why the differences?

The differences between a national school (SK) and a national-type school (SJK) is perhaps the language classes, medium of language used in teaching, the management, and the name of the schools.

I did not do any professional survey on the reason why parents enrol their kids to the respective schools; but parents generally consider the quality of teaching, languages that are taught in the school and also the medium of language when it comes to choosing the best for their sons and daughters.

What if?

At the very base, what if all schools will be maintained, no matter a national school, a Chinese-based school or an Indian-based school? What if the only amendment is the syllabus of the education?

What if Bahasa Malaysia and English language are maintained as the compulsory subject in every school while the students are compulsory to choose Chinese, Tamil or any mother tongue as the secondary language? By doing this, every Malaysian has the right to learn and educate in their mother tongue.

What if all medium of teaching used in every school is the same language? Certain people may worry that the children may not be able to cope with lessons not taught in their mother tongue. But our Malay and Indian friends have proven otherwise when they studied in a Chinese-based school. Some even excel in it.

By then, I believe all parents will only have to choose a school for their children to enrol in based on the quality of teaching and the geographical location.

Maybe it is the way that the suggestions were portrayed by some people has created a perception of closing down certain schools. I don’t know.

Nevertheless, no matter what suggestions that we may have for now, whatever is tabled in the Malaysia Education Blueprint must be continued until the end of its term before making any review. One of the weaknesses of the implementation of Malaysia’s public policies is that the policies usually changes with the change of the Minister. Let the education policy be implemented first, and then only analyse the results of the Blueprint for future considerations.

This article has been published in Mandarin in Kwong Wah Yit Poh dated 9th October 2015.