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, September 28, 2008

Formula One Night Race and Social Status.

The world's first Formula One Night Race takes place tonight, in Singapore.

Many in the nation seem very proud to be hosts of this event, but it struck me as curious as to what it seems to mean for them. The other night, for instance, I heard a commentator on Singaporean TV say, with awe, "Those seats are far too expensive for me...". It was strange to hear a professional broadcaster comment in that way on the price of seats to an event. He then went on to praise the good food and drink those rich spectators would enjoy.

His tone gave me much to think about. He seemed to be very impressed by the STATUS of those who could afford such expensive seats. I understood, then, what this event means for certain people here - it is not about racing, as such, but about social position and "showing-off". If you are wealthy, you can afford the expensive seats and this will impress everyone else. It struck me as funny - all this posturing around one's seating position and the amount of money that one could afford to throw away on watching people move very fast. In Singapore, social status seems to be a very important thing - and many things are done just to show status: the place one lives at, the cars one drives (to drive at all is a status thing given the price of cars, here), the clubs one joins, the games one plays (golf)...the whole nation is driven by a tiresome pursuit of social status. Ultimately, of course, this is all quite empty. They would lead more fulfilling lives if they were driven by love, friendship and family - for these are more rewarding aspects of life than impressing the neighbours with one's shockingly expensive Formula One seating position.

Singapore is not a fully mature society. It is too hung up on appearances and things that ultimately lack substance. This can be seen in the commentators remark concerning the expense of seats: I have never heard a similar comment from any other commentator in any other nation in all my life. Here, however, there is a tendency to be impressed by, and obsessed with, material things. An expensive Formula One seat is regarded as something to be sought after - and something with which to be impressed. I doubt whether it would be so, to the same extent, anywhere else.

It is funny to think about, but a more mature response might be: "Why are those people spending so much on such expensive seats - when they can watch it just as well in seats that are 60 times cheaper? How wasteful."

A concern for the wastefulness of such expensive seating is a more considered response - for it considers the true value of what one is doing and whether those resources might be better deployed elsewhere. Surely there are better uses for 2,500 dollars than a high-class Formula One seat? Most people can think of more mature uses of the money. In Singapore, however, it is considered admirable to spend thousands of dollars on such a thing. Is it elsewhere? What does the rest of the world think about spending so much for a seat at a race that can be a) watched just as well from seats about 60 times cheaper...or b) watched for free with consistently better viewing angles, on TV, at home? Comments please. Also, what are your thoughts on the social status of attending such events: is it a status statement to do so, in your country? Does it impress people to spend so much on such an event? I would be interested to hear from you.

Happy Formula One those who watch it, freely or otherwise.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged eight years and seven months, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, five years exactly, and Tiarnan, twenty-eight months, 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, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, гений ребенок prodigy, genie, μεγαλοφυία θαύμα παιδιών, bambino, kind.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:32 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol. consider the opposite: because it is too expensive (on top of other reasons), most malaysians can't be bothered with the F1 that is held in sepang. what is your take on this?

5:57 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Perhaps the Malaysians have higher priorities than impressing others, at great expense. There could be two reasons for this: they have less money to waste - or they prefer not to waste the money they have on something which returns little but social value (if the society values it). Then again, maybe their society doesn't value such posturing as much as Singaporeans do.

F1 racing is shockingly expensive to watch, compared to other most places of the world. Though, I note that Singapore's prices seem excessive even by F1 standards (they are much more than Silverstone tickets, for instance).

Thanks for raising this point.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

agree with u.such a waste.can't understand with those rich people.,

7:47 PM  

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