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 +

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Reactions to Ainan in Singapore

As you will know, if you have read recent posts, Ainan, 7, has been featured in many Singaporean media, recently, two of them on the front page. What reactions has this provoked in people, here?

Well, the first signs of something different was when he went out with his mother. People pointed at him and cries of: "Are you Ainan?" could be heard. There was a general sense of delight at having met him.

At school, Ainan was cheered by the whole school at assembly. I think he was deeply touched by it all, being a sensitive boy, who picks up on the warmth surrounding him. A trip to the canteen, became a scene of much congratulation, as fellow pupils in his primary school approached to say that they had seen him in the papers.

If there is one word to describe the reaction so far it is: "embraced". Ainan has been embraced by those around him...appreciated, welcomed, well-received.

I hope it continues.

Three cheers for Ainan! Hip hip Hooray!

(If you would like to read more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged seven years and four months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, three, and Tiarnan, fourteen months, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, baby genius, savant, the creatively gifted, gifted adults, and gifted general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:15 AM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if so much attention could become a serious problem to a shy boy or if the superficial or selfish motives of others (who want to increase their own social status, for instance) will hurt someone as sensitive as he may be to those sorts of things.

I bring this up because I have always been a very emotionally sensitive person. People just don't know how to HANDLE me. The way most people interact with me seems crude, and it hurts. I'm very, very perceptive, and this makes me very delicate: I feel like sensitive instrumentation. I don't want just anyone pressing my buttons and turning my knobs. They don't know what they are doing to me, but often insist that they are correct in doing what they do.

I'm very idealistic, and I just don't COMPREHEND the way a lot of people act. I misunderstand them as much as they misunderstand me. With enough effort, I can figure out where they're coming from, and why they do things that don't make sense to me, but it can be a painful confusion of insecurity, self-doubt, disappointment, etc. in the meantime.

If he is anything like me, I would worry about what negative effects the attention might have.

Do you think that he wants so much attention? He didn't react very well to the journalists...

I don't want to make you paranoid but couldn't ignore the urge to type this sentiment for your consideration.

- Kathy

9:00 AM  
Anonymous i-zzatee said...

Hello there!
I'm a polytechnic student and i've read about your son in the Malay newspaper yesterday. I was wow-ed by what i've read in the paper.

Congratulations to your son, Ainan!
Best wishes to all your sons too.

Anyway,this is a good blog!


10:55 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I am happy to hear you like the story.

Thanks for your congratulations...and best wishes to you too.

Good luck with your studies.

1:15 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Ainan has actually been quite touched by the warm responses he has had. Yes, he is shy...but he also likes to have friends and experience friendliness.

So far it has been a good experience. I will monitor the situation closely for any untoward effects and react accordingly.

He didn't react well to one journalist because he doesn't like to be interrogated...he prefers to be accepted without question - and don't we all? In his case, he will screen certain people out if he feels uncomfortable with them.

Thanks for your concern.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Lynn Tan said...

^_^ excellent job that Ainan has done by giving a lecture on Chemistry and to the O Levels..

9:26 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks Lynn for your kind comment and congratulations. Such warm feedback is always helpful - it makes one feel supported.

Best wishes to you and yours

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I haven't considered the opposite perspective much, but it occurs to me to do so now. So, I find myself wondering about what positive effects you expect for Ainan from his fame?

It also occurs to me to wonder whether an amount of fame might be necessary for him to get into the situations that such an intelligent person will need to get into in order to fulfill his potential to the fullest.

I wonder whether an amount of fame is necessary to get access to the sorts of places or resources or people that an intellect like his will likely make him long for?

Maybe your motives for encouraging publicity are actually closer to survival instincts. Maybe what you're doing makes perfect sense for the situation. There are some strange things that I have to do to counterbalance and nurture my own gifts. Gifts can be extremely demanding. Maybe, in Ainan's case, fame is one of those things that the gift demands?

They do say gifted people need more, but if they're fed they can give back more, too. I wonder what other unusual needs you find that you and your children have?

Other than books. :)

Now I'm going off onto tangents of curiosities... Hehe. :)

- Kathy

9:59 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

You are absolutely right, Kathy. Fame is necessary, to a very real degree, if Ainan is to get the opportunities that he needs.

Other families may already have the contacts, situations and resources in place that their children need. We don't have all that is necessary in place. However, Ainan's growing fame is giving us access to the gaps in our arsenal. It is our hope that he will get to do everything he needs to do to become what he can be.

Each family will have different needs if they are to meet their children's needs.

I think everyone should understand and respect those differences. We must all look at our own situations and decide what is necessary to move forward. The answer will often differ from family to family; child to child; situation to situation.

Best wishes to you Kathy.

10:21 PM  

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