Google
 
Web www.scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com

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 +

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The message and the messenger.

In Singapore it is not just the message that counts, but the messenger, too. Whether or not a viewpoint is accepted or criticized seems to depend on who the messenger is.

I have been an observer of Singapore's blogosphere for a couple of years, now - and an observer of Singapore since 1999. Thus, I have had time to accumulate impressions about the nature of discourse here. Well, I have noticed something. Sometimes, a viewpoint which, if expressed by a Singaporean, would be endorsed and supported by other Singaporeans, is attacked, by Singaporeans, if expressed by an outsider. I find this strange. It seems that the messenger is more important than the message, here.

I have seen opinions and arguments presented by outsiders, which are very similar to opinions expressed by Singaporean commentators - yet, the outsiders views are roundly attacked by a number of Singaporeans, whereas, when a Singaporean writes the very same views they find support from other Singaporeans, who voice like views and experiences.

My conclusion from this is that a subset of Singaporeans don't like outsiders to comment on Singapore - even if those comments are the very same ones that a local person would make, in the same circumstances. There seems to be an undercurrent that if you are not born and bred in Singapore, then you are not allowed to voice your thoughts on it.

I am not saying that all Singaporeans think this way (indeed I have seen some Singaporeans speak out in support of the outsider's right to comment - and noting the similarity of their comments to locals') - but it is clear that some do.

I think this is a pity. If the views of outsiders are not welcomed, then Singapore can only be impoverished by this exclusion. Whereas an outsider might come to the same view as a local, sometimes they will see something that locals have overlooked, for the lack of certain comparative experiences and understandings. It is this fact which means that, far from being closed to the viewpoints of outsiders, that Singaporeans should be particularly OPEN to their viewpoints, in the hope of coming to understand something in a different way, and from a different perspective.

Singapore is still not fully at home with the presence of foreigners in its midst. Some Singaporeans have accepted them, befriended them, even married them - but others still think that foreign means "unwelcome" and feel that they should be excluded - their ideas included.

A message should be considered, irrespective of the messenger. It should not be rejected just because of the colour of skin, religious views, or other quality of the messenger. The message, alone, should be taken on board. Yet, still, in Singapore the question appears to be, for some: "Who is saying that?"

As I have observed this phenomenon, I have, at times, thought that perhaps I should not write my thoughts on Singapore anymore. I have wondered whether it is worth making the effort to communicate my understanding of what I see, when some will reject it simply because I am a white foreigner, rather than evaluating the thoughts on their own merits. Yet, still I have continued to write. I feel that I should continue for those who are open, and not be silenced by those who are not.

(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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: http://www.genghiscan.com/ Thanks.)

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:50 PM  9 comments

Friday, October 17, 2008

What Heng-Cheong Leong of Myapplemenu doesn't understand.

Heng-Cheong Leong has attacked my posting below, "An Unkept Singaporean Promise" on his myapplemenu site. His attack is ill-informed and based on the presumption that I did not see an article with the figures in it that I saw. How, I wonder, does Heng-Cheong know what another person saw or did not see? I find his implicit telepathy a wonder indeed. Perhaps he should join the intelligence services (but perhaps other qualifications would be needed too, which he evidently lacks.)

Anyway, he quibbles that his own research turned up a press release saying that Comfort Delgro would drop the fuel surcharge if diesel fell to its level in December 2007 – that of 1.19 singapore dollars to the litre. He maintains that this is different to what I was saying. It is not, in essence. I will explain.

I recall an article saying that the surcharge would be dropped if crude oil reached 109 dollars or less. Now these are not, as Heng-Cheong believes, rather rudely, that different. You see diesel is made from crude oil and the price of one affects the other. Crude oil was priced at 97 US dollars at its spike in December 2007 – please see link below for confirmation. (Note this is pretty close to the 109 figure I saw, as the threshold for price reduction. It would result in a very similar price for diesel.)

http://www.oag.com/oag/website/com/en/Home/Travel+Magazine/Executive+Travel/Travelers+Briefing/A+crude+awakening+Oil+prices+hit+new+high+071107

Now, after this on December 17th 2007, the market price for Diesel was 1.19 singapore dollars per litre.

So, the question is, what SHOULD the diesel price be now? (This is a question that Heng-Cheong doesn't ask: he just accepts the quoted price). Well, it is a simple computation to make: it is going to be roughly the ratio of the present price of oil (72 USD this morning) divided by the price in December 2007, when it spiked, 97 USD) multiplied by 1.19 singapore dollars per litre. Doing this, we get an EXPECTED price of diesel of 88 cents per litre. However, the price presently still hovers around double that at 1.60 dollars. Thus, we are being DOUBLY ripped off. The price of diesel should be half what it is at the pumps – and the surcharge should have dropped since the underlying fundamental price of diesel should be below the 1.19 Sing Dollar per litre cut off mark.

So, it can be seen that my argument stands. Diesel should be cheap again – and the surcharge should have been dropped. Heng-Cheong Leong has been offensive for nothing. He really should take his own advice – and google some more – and think a little, too. Then all would become clearer.

I hope this has painted a fuller picture of the fuel situation here, in Singapore, for everyone.

Thanks.

(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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: http://www.genghiscan.com/ Thanks.)

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 6:01 PM  2 comments

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An unkept Singaporean promise.

I read in the Straits Times a while back, when oil prices were high and Comfort Delgro had just introduced a fuel surcharge on taxis, that "We will drop the surcharge if the price of fuel falls below $109."

Well, well, well: isn't it marvellous the way such promises are conveniently forgotten when it comes time for them to be kept? Today, the price of oil has fallen to $73 a barrel - but the fuel surcharge on Singaporean taxis remains. So, too, do the absurdly high taxi fares, remain untouched.

Does anyone remember the justification for the taxi fare rises? It was that fuel was so expensive that drivers were losing out - so there had to be a rise in charges to allow drivers to make a better living against the backdrop of such high fuel prices. Well, fuel is now as cheap as it was fourteen months ago - and seems to be dropping. So, why haven't taxi fares begun to drop, too?

I have been in Singapore since 1999 and the general impression left on me, by large corporate concerns, is one of greed. Their basic nature, here, appears to be greed, greed, greed. Prices are very quick to rise - but very slow to fall (if EVER) despite the original stated cause of the rise having gone away. The true cause is the greed of those who run the concerns.

Now, a promise was publicly made that the surcharge would vanish if fuel charges fell. They have fallen. It is time to keep the promise. It is also time to drop taxi rates back to something like what they were before the price rises. Singaporean taxi users have, I feel, suffered enough, since the price rises. The world is in recession: is it really necessary to punish the commuter in this way?

Many people who use taxis do so because they have no other choice: they are disabled, frail or encumbered with many children. In other words, taxi users are often the most vulnerable or burdened members of society. By making - and keeping - taxi fares high, those segments of the population that we should most be seeking to protect, are put in greatest difficulty.

Remove the surcharge. Lower the taxi fares - and start doing business HONESTLY, is my appeal to the taxi firms in Singapore. Your excuse for the fare rises has gone away, now...so lower them again. No more unkept promises.

(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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: http://www.genghiscan.com/ Thanks.)

Labels: , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 4:38 PM  25 comments

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A sense of achievement.

What does a sense of achievement mean, these days? When I was younger, it had a clear connotation: that of real accomplishment giving rise to solid feelings of having done something worthwhile. Nowadays, it seems to be seem somewhat different.

Recently, I got talking to a student from China. I asked him what his greatest achievement had been, so far. His answer took some time in coming.

"I don't think I have achieved anything in my life. My achievements are all the seeking of pleasure, because I am a hedonist. I used to dance and drink all night long - and abuse drugs. Those are my achievements. Now, I have changed, as I have come of age. Now, I am trying to study English."

His answer was one many young people, today, could have given. Real achievement is not the aim of many of them: pleasure and entertainment are. Many modern lives are shallow things, lived just for sensation. It has even gone so far that a member of this younger generation can regard the pleasure seeking itself as his life's most worthy achievements.

The only hope in his reply is that he perceived that he had changed and that he was now trying to learn English. Colouring that reply, however, is that he often seemed listless in class, as if the life had been drained from him. Perhaps that was the damage done by his earlier lifestyle.

I worry about the future, when the present is filled with people whose aims are shallow. A great future cannot be built on the efforts of shallow people. The civilization that such people would build would, at one time, have been called hell. Is that what the future shall bring?

(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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: http://www.genghiscan.com/ Thanks.)

Labels: , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 5:44 PM  1 comments

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A strange case of serendipity.

Sometimes life seems stranger than one understands.

A few days ago, someone I had not heard from in five years emailed me. We used to meet regularly but parted ways and just stopped meeting one day. Five long years passed and I never saw him once in all that time. I wrote back to reestablish contact and asked him how he had been and so on.

Then, two days later, I went to the East of Singapore to visit a new born child...a cousin to my boys. Upon leaving and going home, and passing through the MRT, a familiar face smiled at me.

"Hello Valentine!". It was the partner of the friend I had not seen for five years. Standing beside her was my old friend.

How odd. He had only just written to me two days before - and now I was meeting him by chance at an MRT station I never normally visited.

The meeting was a brief reintroduction flavoured by a mutual astonishment that we should meet by chance shortly after emailing.

Given this kind of occurrence, it is easy to think how some people might come to believe in "magical" explanations for things...but I prefer a more grounded term: serendipity - for was not the happy chance that we should meet so shortly after expressing a wish to, serendipitous? Yet, boy, did it feel strange.

(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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: http://www.genghiscan.com/ Thanks.)

Labels: , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 4:20 PM  0 comments

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Irish solution to financial meltdown.

When it comes time to write the history books of this financial chaos the world now finds itself in, I believe a turning point will be noted in the Irish response to the crisis. Indeed, it may come to be known as the Irish solution, in time to come.

As many of you will know, the Republic of Ireland - or at least its government - was the first country in the world to guarantee the bank deposits of its homegrown Irish banks. This was a masterful move - and will be seen (and is already by many) as a wise move. You see, by guaranteeing the banks, Ireland created the world's safest haven for depositors - thus, if no other country did the same, money would fly to Ireland, in a jiffy, from all over the world. The Irish banks would be overladen with newly won cash. Of course, Ireland knew this - and knew, therefore, that the risk of having to pick up what was calculated to be a potential 9 trillion dollar bill, was remote. Irish banks were safe because Ireland said they were safe.

I believe that the Republic of Ireland knew that the rest of the world would be forced to follow suit. The Irish government must have been aware that other nations could not stand by and do nothing in response. Thus, Ireland's unilateral move has forced the hands of governments around the world to do what they should already have been doing: guaranteeing their banks, so that depositors would not withdraw all their funds and deplete the banks of capital, killing them in the process. So, Germany and Greece followed, in quick succession - and now Australia, too, has said that it will "guarantee ALL deposits for three years".

Ireland's financial wisdom may just have saved the world from an even greater catastrophe than would otherwise have befallen it. Islands of surety in the chaos are being created all over the world, as other governments come out with guarantees of their banks - and all because of the Irish.

Of course, some governments will resist backing their banks in this way. Such governments will, I think, sit by and watch their banks shrivel up and die as the deposits are moved to banks in territories that do offer such guarantees. In time, all governments will be moved to offer some form of guarantee: it is the only way to bring some confidence back into the financial system.

It is interesting to see that it was a small nation like Ireland that led the way in this. It was not the United States of America - which hereafter shall forever be known as the CAUSE of this global financial mess. The USA spent its time arguing over whether it was socialist/communistic to bail out the banks - letting the chaos grow, as they did so. Ideologies such as capitalism/socialism really, really, really don't matter when the entire financial system is collapsing around the world: what must be done, must be done, irrespective of what people might call it. It rather amazes me that they would even consider ideologies at this point.

The small nation of Ireland will be thanked, by history, for its unilateral initiative, in stepping up to do what must be done to ensure that the financial chaos we have now entered, globally, does not endure a moment longer than it has to.

Perhaps, people everywhere, should go out and drink a pint of Guinness, in salute to the Emerald Isle, land of leprechauns, pots of gold and wise finance ministers.

(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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: http://www.genghiscan.com/ Thanks.)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 6:30 PM  9 comments

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The philosopher of the wind.

Tiarnan is just two, but he already asks the most interesting of questions. It seems that beneath his curly head of hair, there is to be found a natural philosopher, if a young one.

Two days ago, Tiarnan asked of his mummy and daddy, "What is the wind? I cannot see the wind."

"Can anyone see the wind?", I asked him.

"No." He said, sure of his own observations.

We were so intrigued by his question that neither of us actually gave him an answer - we were just busy being amazed that he had asked it.

I find it interesting to see Tiarnan begin to question the natural world and think on its nature. This was something that Ainan used to do, when very young. I see the two boys as different but having certain common threads running through their personalities. Perhaps Tiarnan, too, will be interested in science when the time comes - though I feel he has a liking for Art, too. Perhaps he will pursue them both (and music too...for he likes to tinkle with the piano, or anything that is musical).

At Tiarnan's age, all is possible. It is interesting, as a parent, to watch him discover himself and come to understand what he likes and what he might like to do. For now, I see him as multiplicitous and open. I can only guess what he might be like in a few years time - but the question above gives me a clue that among all his concerns, there is going to be a lot of thinking going on, too.

(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: http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html 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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: http://www.genghiscan.com/ Thanks.)

Labels: , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:10 PM  2 comments

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape