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 +

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Singapore shopping with a smile

It is strange how often strangers smile at us, now. Strange - but good.

Yesterday, I went shopping with my wife Syahidah - there is a tale to tell about that, which I shall another time, but for now I would like to focus on the smiles.

We went to an arts supply shop, Art Friend, in Orchard - they have several branches throughout Singapore - and there we asked an assistant about materials. The lady couldn't have been more helpful, leading us to where the pastels were located, even getting us a box to put them in. She told the cashier how to charge us (differently owing to our special request) and made sure we got everything we wanted. She was the second assistant to help us in that shop. The other - a young man - had explained which materials to use with which supplies and shown us where each were located.

I don't know if it was just a lucky day but the service seemed better than average, that day. I had the uncanny feeling they knew of us, already.

(The art materials were for my wife, for, as you may know if you are a regular reader, she is an artist - like her brother, Hafiz. She does portraits, in a unique style; he does abstracts.)

The same thing happened in a toy shop. The assistant was very keen to help; very keen to show us where everything was - and after we settled the bill, she looked directly at me and gave me the biggest of smiles. I am not used to that - big smiles being thrown in my direction - but I must say it is pleasant to be on the receiving end.

Everywhere we went; we were bathed in this warmth. It was not from all people - but enough seemed to know us and respond to us positively to make the feeling of the city warmer than it had been, more welcoming.

This warm welcome says something good about Singapore and Singaporeans. It says that Singapore does not begrudge its gifted - in a very real way, they are welcomed. At least if our experience is anything to go by. In this manner, I see that Singapore has a bright future - for here if, again, our experience is typical - the bright may be allowed to shine and in shining, make the whole society shine. Perhaps that is why they call it a "meritocracy" - and promote meritocratic principles throughout the society. Perhaps the smiles we are receiving are a symptom of the adoption of a meritocratic outlook.

I think it will do Singapore a lot of good to maintain such an outlook - and such a set of principles. It is an outlook and a way of living on which a great city may be built, in time.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 6:02 PM 


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