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 30, 2008

The perils of shaking hands.

Shaking hands is a social requirement in many countries: a gesture of friendliness with which to greet an acquaintance - yet, should we do so?

I was moved to wonder this at something I saw the other day. I was in a bathroom, in a shopping mall, waiting for a cubicle to become free. It was a few minutes wait. Finally, a toilet flushed, a door opened and a Chinese man emerged. He was quite large, for an Asian. He passed me without looking at me - and then, instead of washing his hands at the sinks, walked straight out into the shopping centre.

Yuck, I thought. Just imagine shaking hands with that guy: he had just spent ten minutes in a cubicle, on the toilet. His hands could really in be quite a bad state - yet he had walked straight out without washing.

His unhygienic act is not the only time I have seen this done. It seems that more often than not, a man, in Singapore, who uses the urinals, will walk out without washing their hands. Then, as with this man, there are those who will walk out without washing their hands, after using the cubicles. These two occurrences are very common in Singapore.

Clearly, this situation creates a conundrum for everyone who lives here. Knowing that many people here do not wash their hands after going to the toilet, should you shake hands - and maintain friendly relations - or refuse to shake hands, and risk seeming impolite?

Normally, I shake hands. But having been reminded by this incident of the hygiene situation here, in Singapore, I think it would be better not to offer to shake hands, at all. It would be better to risk seeming impolite, than to shake the hands of someone who had used a cubicle without washing themselves, afterwards.

This is an issue of health, too, for not only is the situation unpleasant to consider, but it risks spreading disease. Who knows what, apart from dirty hands, you might catch from shaking hands with someone else?

I wonder what the situation is in other countries? Is it normal in your country for men and women to wash their hands after the toilet - or do they just walk out, unwashed, as the man I observed did? Comments please.

(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 @ 11:04 PM 


Blogger Shannon said...

This is why I carry hand sanitizer.

12:16 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

That is a good idea, Shannon.


8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that's why we need water in toilet.not at the sink n stop using tissue.

7:28 PM  

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