The boy who knew too much: a child prodigy

This is the true story of scientific child prodigy, and former baby genius, Ainan Celeste Cawley, written by his father. It is the true story, too, of his gifted brothers and of all the Cawley family. I write also of child prodigy and genius in general: what it is, and how it is so often neglected in the modern world. As a society, we so often fail those we should most hope to see succeed: our gifted children and the gifted adults they become. Site Copyright: Valentine Cawley, 2006 +

Friday, December 29, 2006

Fintan's Christmas request

We had an unusual Christmas day.

We took a day trip to Sentosa Island - which is a resort island near Singapore, across a bridge, in fact. It is Singapore's theme park island. The entire island consists of attractions nestled in landscaped gardens and manicured beaches. There are all sorts of theme park like rides. Singapore is a small island, but it makes every effort to be self-contained, so Sentosa is designed to fulfil the desire in people for a resort experience - and it is no coincidence that an "Integrated Resort" (for that read Casino complex) is soon to be built on the island.

We only took two rides: the "Luge" and a cable car. The Luge I enjoyed - it was like a bobsleigh run, without the danger - for velocities were lower and it wasn't in a narrow channel, but a wide, downward sloping road. Under the force of gravity, we rolled past one another, jostling for position, as if in a race. I had Fintan on my cart, Syahidah had Ainan on hers - a boy nestled between our protecting legs, lest we bumped into something or someone.

The cable car, however, was a different matter. It looked innocent enough at first, with the car floating only about ten feet above the ground, shortly after it left the starting platform. Each "car" was actually an open bench, attached to the cable above by only - and this detail worried me - the friction of a single biting grip from a single arm. Looking at it, I couldn't help but notice that, in theory, a large enough weight could rotate the grip and free the car from the cable.

We were asked to sit down on either side of the boys. I sat on the right most side, Syahidah on the left most side, Ainan on my inside, Fintan on hers. The bench was open to the sky and to the ground below, but for a single bar that came over the top and settled at belly height in front of us. We were encouraged to hold the bar - and, it being the only thing to hold onto, we did.

At first I didn't feel uncomfortable, because the ground was quite close below. However, the car soon began to rise, and rise, and rise - until the trees were quite far below us and the distance to the ground lookedly awfully unsurvivable. I felt then the precariousness of my position in the car. Looking down I saw the ground far below, trees, cars and a road passing by below. Looking up I saw that only a firm grip by a metal hand on a cable held us in place. Note that the grip was not a closed loop, but open on the underside - so a strong enough force on the car, could rotate it free. In between we sat, on an open bench, with only a single bar between us and what lay below.

Oddly, the car was tilted towards me, since I am well over twice the weight of my wife. So we proceeded, high above the land below, at an angle determined by my excessive frame.

I have painted the experience as it felt, for a reason. Towards the end of the trip, at one of the highest points above the ground, Fintan, three, who is ever courageous, looked straight down at the ground below, and announced: "I want to go again, Daddy."

He did. I didn't.

(If you would like to read more about Fintan, or his gifted brothers, including scientific child prodigy Ainan Celeste Cawley, seven years and one month, or baby Tiarnan, aged eleven months, please go to: I also write of child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 3:32 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance of publishing a feed?

1:47 AM  

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