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.