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 +

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Parade, Singapore.

Yesterday, Singapore celebrated St. Patrick's Day, one day early. It was thought not appropriate to celebrate it on a Monday (though it falls on one) owing to the sacred need to get on with work.

Anyway, I took my family along to the St. Patrick's Day parade, out of feeling for my long unseen land of origin - and out of curiosity as to how Singapore would celebrate this quintessentially Irish day. The parade was organized by the Irish Business Association of Singapore.

The day began with bizarreness. Our first encounter with the parade was near the Asian Civilization Museum where we witnessed what appeared to be an invasion from a George Lucas backlot: a column of stormtroopers, clad in white shining armour, were being led by "Darth Vader", through the streets of Singapore. Star Wars had come to the equator.

My children were awed by this surreal sight. The stormtroopers were lined up quite a few rows deep behind Darth Vader - who, suitably, was rather taller than the others. They didn't speak to anyone, but stomped wordlessly through the crowd, looking neither left, nor right, but straight ahead. It was most impressive. I couldn't help but think how hot they must be under their all covering plastic attire. Nevertheless, the children were impressed: Tiarnan in particular kept pointing at them, and drawing our attention, whenever it appeared to be drifting with a repeated: "There!" He was amazed. Never in his life had he seen anyone like these stormtroopers. What a treat he has in store for him, when he gets to see Star Wars for the first time.

We followed the Stormtroopers in their deployment towards Boat Quay.

The rest of the parade was equally whimsical. There was a band of bagpipe players, belting out Irish music...but, most oddly, none of them were Irish: they were mostly Chinese. It was quite strange to see the Irish music, with its explicit ethnic origin, juxtaposed to earnest young Chinese (and other asians), playing it. One of the announcers of the event, claimed an Irish grandfather - yet he looked like a purebred Asian to me - so either he jested, or the Irish influence was overwhelmed by the other lines within him. The Irish were present more in spirit than in numbers. At one point, the announcer asked for all the Irish people to put up their hands. I did so - and a scattering of others throughout the crowd - perhaps 10 per cent of the people there. Then they asked the non-Irish to put up their hands: suddenly arms sprouted all around...virtually everyone with their hand up. It was touching in a way, that so many non-Irish would turn out to celebrate Irish culture and tradition. Perhaps there is a yearning here, in Singapore, for the depth of some other cultures - such as the Irish one - with its millenia of traditions stretching back to time forgotten. Singapore doesn't have that. Everything here is so recent. It was warming, therefore, to see so many people turn up to celebrate my national day.

Another local touch was a traditional Malay group, who performed in their own quirky, traditional way. I found this curious in two ways: one, it was interesting to watch from a cultural perspective...but two, I found that it spoke of a local need for recognition. It was a Malay performance, on an Irish day. Again, as with the Star Wars fan group (which they were), we saw a local touch to an Irish celebration.

One group of teenagers, who were playing the drums, took a step none of the others did, in their celebrations: they had had t-shirts made up emblazoned with Gaelic slogans. The effort was appreciated, and their green and white colouring was most appropriate.

Surprisingly, this is only the third time that St. Patrick's Day has been celebrated in Singapore, with a parade. I hope it is the beginning of a long-term tradition. For it was good to hear the rhythms of Ireland, here, on the equator. It made for quite a surreal day.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and one month, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, four years and seven months, and Tiarnan, two years exactly, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, College, University, Chemistry, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, gifted adults and gifted children in general. Thanks.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:01 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

stormtroopers??? Sounds like brotherhood folk to me, probably their 130th space force / I remember when darkness first developed his game many years ago, he nicked alot of stuff from all over the place. A large part of it came from Star Wars, as many of the programs and codes were already in existence / if you look carefully at each of those guys helmets, you will see a scorpion with wings. Its very small, but it is there, that's that call sign.

At least that is what the Leperchaun told me when I was there.

6:27 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for the background.

I didn't check their helmets close up and so didn't see any scorpions. So, the issue remains unsolved.

Which game is this that Darkness developed? I'd like to hear more.

7:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has to be them. Only one group in the whole island takes space so seriously LOL. I really cant think of anyone else LOL.

Oh well each to his own.


10:48 AM  

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