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 +

Sunday, March 29, 2009

An unexpected quality of service.

Most people who have experienced taxi drivers, in Singapore, would agree that they can be an unreliable breed. They are fond of taking foreigners on "scenic" routes, much longer than a direct route (this happens to me a lot owing to my white face); they not infrequently don't know where they are going, or pretend not to; they won't stop to pick you up, for reasons known only to themselves; they will drive around empty for ages, waiting for a call out. Occasionally, the meter has been running for some time, before pick up, artificially inflating the fare. There are all kinds of tricks out there, for the unawares. Sometimes, I have even been in taxis that have become completely lost (though now with GPS this doesn't happen). Basically, it is a bit of a gamble what kind of driver you get when you flag down or call out a taxi. They are not a uniformly professional breed as I am accustomed to in the UK (black cab drivers).

It was a surprise, therefore, the other day to encounter a different kind of taxi driver in Singapore. This one took us home. At first he parked up where we told him to. Then, noting the lift entrance we were going to go to and the fact that we had heavy shopping, he manoeuvred the cab carefully to bring the boot as close to the lift entrance as possible. It was not necessary for him to do this - but he did it to make our lives easier.

Then he did something really unexpected, compared to what is usual with taxi drivers. He opened the boot, got out of his car and started taking our bags out of the back and putting them in the lift for us. There were a lot of bags - at least fifteen - but he took them out of the boot and carried them into the lift for us.

I was taken aback by the extent to which he went to render good service. My surprise was enhanced by my own "inner picture" of what a Singaporean taxi driver is like. His behaviour, however, was an ideal that I had come to discount as impossible here.

So, though I have been critical of the taxi service in the past, I would like to thank the unknown driver of SHB 5722L for his great service standards. He, truly, is what a Singaporean driver should be. Well done.

(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 @ 10:29 AM 


Blogger Quirkz said...

Hi Valentine,

Why not mail this in to Straits Times forum? Then the taxi driver may get a higher chance of seeing this compliment =) Not sure if it will affect his appraisal if they have any!

I've personally experienced some pretty nice taxi drivers too... they make taking cabs a pleasant experience.

5:10 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

You are right, Quirkz...I think I should send a version of this to the Forum and see if they publish it. He deserves recognition for setting such a good service standard.


8:51 PM  

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