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 +

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

F1 racing cars from the perspective of a child.

Recently, Fintan, five and Tiarnan, two, went to a museum in Singapore that had some F1 racing cars on show.

They circulated, eyeing each car with great attention, very impressed with the glistening engineering on show. They were very excited to see these fast machines up close.

Then they came to a Singaporean made "F1" racing car. It had been constructed by NUS (the National University of Singapore). This one made the two brothers pause and stare at it in silence. There was something not quite right with this one.

Finally, Fintan spoke, addressing his silent mother: "Why did they make this broken car?"

He had seen its homemade nature and found it wanting. It was funny. For the car was mounted in a museum, on proud display - but all Fintan could see was its lack of finish and haphazard construction. The moment reminded me that often young children see the world more truly, for they see what is actually there - and not what they have been conditioned to believe is there. An adult looking at the same car, might just see that it is a racing car. A child looks at it and sees technological lack of finish, and shabbiness of construction. They don't see what it is supposed to be. They see what it is.

I like seeing the world through my children's eyes. It allows me to shrug off the veil of all my years, and see what adults long ago forget how to see: an uninterpreted world of the senses.

(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 @ 6:57 PM 


Blogger Colin said...

I walk past one such racing car almost everyday when I'm on campus. And it is very obviously a 'homemade' car. It is the wrong size, lacks the sophistication of an F1 car, which costs millions.

So am I a child?:-) I like to think that is many ways I am one still...

7:52 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Perhaps you have retained some of that freshness of childhood, then.

This all prompts a question: what do they do with all these homemade cars?


8:18 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

They enter competitions with it. It's called the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) competition.

So our students with the most affinity towards automotive engineering (also the one with the best grades out of those who apply) build the car under a professor who specialises in race engines, then they get to race it among other aspects of the competition.

I'm told that NUS is the best among all the Asian entries. I personally, find this hard to believe. What happened to Japan? Hahaha... Maybe they don't take part.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Best in the Homemade Car Category! I wonder what their budget is (compared to the big boys)? Do they have a budget...or is it all put together from spare parts?

9:00 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

They do have a budget for spare prts and such. They buy a 2l Honda engine.

And I think the whole competition is for student-made cars, so I doubt that there is a 'Homemade Car Cateory'.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Colin said...

Oh not 2l, something smaller. I can't remember off the top of my head.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I invented the "Homemade Car Category"...for that is what they are, in a way.

It sounds like they are running on small budgets.

9:30 PM  
Anonymous David said...

"young children see the world more truly, for they see what is actually there - and not what they have been conditioned to believe is there."'s_New_Clothes
That surely remind everyone of the tale of "The Emperor's New Clothes" where the emperor imagine himself wearing the greatest beautiful "invisible" cloth designed by his so called "talented genius", and walk proud publicly in front of subservient citizens who are so afraid of prosecution if they told the emperor that he is in fact naked. It just take a naive and innocent young child to daringly proclaim that the emperor is naked but still the emperor believe that the child is lying after all the adult are praising Emperor's new cloth apparently out of fear.

Well, that surely reflects what happen in Singapore, with oldman still believe in his own make-believe world validated by his own YES-MAN that he hired to conform with his own opinion.

The version of "The Emperor's New Clothes" in Singapore is
"The Emperor's New Sense" which portray the severe lack of common sense of the "Untouchable One".

1:08 AM  
Blogger Anonymous said...

Sounds fun!

4:48 AM  

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