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 +

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One voice to overrule them all.

I remember a line from the Lord of the Rings: "One Ring to rule them all.". Sometimes, life is just like that.

For twenty, long years on my estate, hundreds of children have celebrated Halloween every year on October 31st. They have dressed up in scary costumes, as witches and vampires, ghouls and nightmarish visions of monsters unknown; they have traipsed from house to house, saying "trick or treat" and been rewarded with sweets. The householders, too, have played their part, decorating their homes in suitably gothic ways, with cobwebs and unsettling light and an imaginative variety of frightening accompaniments. Yet, this year, all of this looks set not to be.

Why, you might wonder, after twenty years, would such a wonderful tradition be set aside? Well, it is not by choice. On our estate one person has complained that the annual event is "too noisy" - and so the management office has stated that, this year, they will not be organizing a Halloween celebration.

I found myself shocked at this, for many reasons. Firstly, the kids are NOT very noisy: they simply talk among themselves and walk from house to house. They make no more noise than they usually make. They are not really noticeable. Secondly, every year hundreds of children participate - or at least it seems like hundreds. It is something that occurs estate wide: everyone gets involved. So, if the democratic principle were followed one might get 1,000 votes for Halloween and ONE vote against. Why, is one voice allowed to overrule everyone else? Whatever happened to the basic idea of democracy? It seems that the estate management are unaware of democracy.

Now, I do not know who has complained. Are they someone "important"? Is that the reason why they have been heeded and a thousand voices have been ignored? I find it all rather nauseating. The Halloween celebration has been traditional on our estate since it was built and so I see no reason to permit a single dissenting voice to put a stop to it. If this person doesn't like to see children celebrating - then perhaps they should go out for the evening (or don't they have any friends or relatives to go to? I wouldn't be surprised if that were so, given this attitude.)

Singapore surprises me, sometimes. The voice of the majority doesn't seem to be important, in many contexts. What the people want is not considered. What is important is what a few individuals want - in some cases, like this one, nameless, faceless, individuals.

Our children have enjoyed Halloween every year. This year they may not get to do so - and all because of one anonymous naysayer, without any joy in their hearts. I am reminded of Scrooge, for surely this person's personality cannot be too different. A whole estate load of children are being asked not to celebrate, so that one person can be undisturbed by the sound of happy kids.

I can see why some people laugh at the idea that Singapore is "family friendly": clearly, it is far from being so.

Think of it another way. Would anyone listen if one lone child complained about an annual gathering of adults on their estate? Would the event be cancelled because a child said that the adults talked too much? That shows how ridiculous it is that the event should be cancelled because one adult complained about the children.

We are not going to let this anonymous spoilsport ruin our celebration - we will find our own way to mark the day for our children. However, it does rankle that the management would actually elevate one voice above a thousand. There is something wrong about that. I wonder who it is?

(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 @ 5:20 PM 


Blogger Miao said...

Hopefully, like Scrooge, he/she will eventually come to repent his/her own flaws.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I would like to think so...but I doubt it. Someone who doesn't like kids that much, won't ever come to like them.

2:46 PM  

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