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 +

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The aspirations of a Russian student.

Recently, I read a declaration by a Russian student over what she wanted most from life. She is studying English in Singapore but her remarks made me wonder whether studies were her true desire.

She wrote that she most wanted her parents to be healthy and to do well in her studies. That, I thought was reasonable enough, and expected. Then she wrote that she wanted to meet a rich Singaporean guy, marry him and spend her life, "shopping everyday for branded stuff". She topped this off with "I want to be a famous model."

The girl in question has a very high self-image, which has comic effects on her movement - she sashays around as if everyone has nothing better to do than to look at her. The funny thing is, they usually do look at her - but only to wonder why she is moving in such a strange way. The looks are not, I feel, in admiration of her appearance.

I have seen other things written by this girl. Her most frequently expressed desires are to "have lots of plastic surgery" and "to buy branded stuff". She lives entirely for image and seems to think that life actually consists of image - that that is the meaning of life, itself.

Considering her, I wonder how many other young foreign women, studying here, in Singapore, are actually here, not for their studies - but for the chance of capturing a "rich Singaporean guy" and occupying the rest of their days spending his hard-earned money on "branded stuff". In a way, I feel sorry for anyone who gets caught up with a girl like this. She is too shallow to give deep meaning to anyone's life - and will very quickly impoverish anyone she encounters.

There is a recent trend towards Singaporeans marrying overseas women and men. This is fine and should bring many interesting people into the world, of diverse background (assuming that they have children). However, I am a little concerned over the quality of the women concerned (and perhaps men, too...I haven't any information concerning them). Are many of them like this young woman with her fantasies of an earthly branded goods heaven? If so, then I fear for the future of Singapore - for surely the children of such a one can only promise more shallowness? Surely, she can only bring more empty-headed people into this world?

There needs to be an assurance of a certain level of sophistication in the migrants to Singapore, if Singapore is to maintain and enhance whatever sophistication it possesses, in the long-term. On the other hand, if the intention is to create a consumerist society with no deeper purpose than to shop (which seems to describe a lot of people in Singapore, actually) then this Russian acquaintance of mine is perfectly suited to the society in which she finds herself. Perhaps she will find a husband here who is delighted that she is so interested in Gucci, Cartier, and Bulgari (her top three brands according to her).

Perhaps it is all part of some cunning plan to boost the local economy: import hundreds of thousands of consumerist airheads to flood the local shops and buoy up the economy with their excessive purchases (or excessive demands on their boyfriends' pockets). Perhaps we should start shipping young Russian girls in by the cruiseliner load. It could do wonders for the local economy and its brand name stores.

Then again, such women could lead to a lot of unhappiness for local men, caught up in their consumerist whirl.

You have been warned.

(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 @ 8:01 PM 


Blogger Miao said...

My family buys Lianhe Wanbao everyday. It usually carries the less important news, and it invites readers to contribute their own interesting stories. Till today it has published quite a number of stories recounted by local men who complained about how they were cheated by foreign women of their life savings. One man detailed his brief marriage to a woman from China: He worked as a taxi driver and had only a modest income, but she demanded that he gave her S$2000 as allowance every month. As a result, he had to hold two jobs to satisfy her appetite. He also sent $20,000 to her family as a gift when he married her. She did not contribute at all - he had to fork out extra money to foot the bills and to purchase groceries. Whenever he asked her to help out with household chores, she'd demand even more money as reward for her labour. There was once when she extorted $50 from him after preparing his dinner (!). Eventually he couldn't take it anymore and filed for divorce. And the woman was entitled to half of his property.

He is not the only one who was cheated. In the neighbourhood I live in, I often see male senior citizens flirting with foreign women (mostly from China). Some have even divorced their wives so that they can marry these younger, materialistic foreign girls. It is bad enough that these girls are so greedy. It is even worse that they have no qualms about wrecking other people's families so that they can achieve their selfish ends. Of course, not all foreign women are like that. (My neighbour's wife is a girl from China and she is a really virtuous wife.) But their presence here is prominent enough to cause worry. I can only hope that local men exercise better judgment and not fall into their traps.

9:30 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Miao,

I think the presence of an overtly materialistic outlook should be a warning sign to stay away: such a one would not be after a person for their own merits, but the goods they can buy them. I don't think that is sufficient foundation for a relationship, of any kind.

My anecdote is a reminder that it is not just the fabled girls from China that one needs to be cautious of in the rip-off department.

Best wishes.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

I am convinced that the difference between a child and an adult is how one handles responsibility. Nowadays in society, there are plenty of half-formed adults which are trying to extend their childhoods as long as possible. They shy away from responsibility and worry only for their own enjoyment. You can only imagine what happens when they somehow decide to have children of their own.

When someone who has not accumulated wisdom and virtue by working hard and fulfilling responsibilities, that person is immature, and cannot bring up a child in the way he should go.

I always half-jokingly (only half-jokingly) tell my friends that we should license people to be parents, so that our society will be healthier. Obviously this is like something out of the totalitarian society found in 1984, but no harm wishing, hahahaha!

I may not be the most virtuous person, but I can tell that there is a lack of well-brought up people in society. No mystery, really, where all the bond-breakers, immoral and discourteous people come from.

To lead us into the future, we need good men and women, with good upbringing and wisdom imparted to them by their wise, well brought-up parents, who aspire and dream, and most of all, who will not compromise their characters.

10:21 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your well thought through comment Colin.

It is a little dangerous to raise the idea of licensed parents in some never know who might actually implement it. I am sure it would have a lot of negative aspects, too. (Like who, exactly, gets the right to breed? What are the criteria? Are they fair and impartial or biased?)

Yes. I can't imagine this girl being a parent...well, I can, she is probably trying to be one on a daily basis, if you know what I mean - but I meant, that I cannot imagine that she would be a responsible one.

I, too, would like to see a wiser society. I am not sure that I will live long enough to see one, however, the way things are going (if you didn't know it, the stupid outbreed the we are likely to be in for a less wise society than the one we already have. Yikes!)

Best wishes,

11:00 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

The financially responsible do not seek out financially irresponsible spouses. Perhaps she would benefit by taking some business classes. It seems that she has given up on her own ability to create/ maintain wealth. One day she will realize that there is no such thing as an easy life.

12:17 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I think, Shannon, that she has had an easy life...being an only child and sees it as natural that this should continue all her life long.

There are some women in Singapore who manage to snare rich men (and then spend them to poverty, no doubt). I wonder if she will be one of them?

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here in the U.S. the slang for that is "gold digger". For the most part I don't feel sorry for men who marry (or date) such a woman because they are equally shallow in what they are looking for- a trophy wife/girlfriend who will trade sex for "branded things". There are some good men who get scammed this way (like the taxi driver somebody mentioned). But if a man is looking for real love and not just sex with somebody that other men will be jealous of, he'll find her. I'm frankly glad these shallow materialistic people find each other. Then they can leave the rest of us alone.

10:15 PM  

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