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, May 05, 2009

Career ambition of a young man.

The young, today, have strange career ambitions, in some cases. A significant proportion of youngsters in the UK, for instance, believe that they will be pop stars. So significant is the proportion that believes this that, if it came true, there would be little audience to listen to their works: too many would be producing works, not enough would be of a mind to buy.

A few days ago, I asked a group of young Chinese mainlanders, living in Singapore, whether they would ever consider being a criminal. Of the seven of them, six said they would not consider it. The seventh, however, said: "Yes. I would like to be a criminal."

That gave me a pause. "What kind of criminal would you like to be?"

"All kinds."

"Why would you like to be a criminal?"

"Because I would like to try all jobs."

My silence urged him on.

"...and I think girls like a bad man. I want to be a bad man."

Ah...just so he could get the girls.

"Would you consider being a farmer, then?", I asked him.


So much for "trying all jobs."!

"Why not?"

"It is too boring."

I left the matter at that. Incidentally, most of the others who would not consider being a criminal, would consider being a farmer. One might conclude that criminal farmers would be in short supply in China!

What I found interesting about this young man's views on career choices, was that he revealed no contemplation of moral or legal matters. He was only concerned whether his "image" would be attractive to girls, or not. Perhaps he had been influenced by Hollywood and the Chinese equivalent (or Hong Kong equivalent) into believing that criminals were somehow alluring to women.

I rather hope that he doesn't act on his fantasy career choice, particularly given that he would like to try "all" types of crime. (I did note, however, that one girl said regarding his criminal career choice: "He is one." - and many of the others could be heard murmuring words to the effect that it was an appropriate choice, for him.)

There is another consideration. This is a small sample - just seven Chinese mainlanders...but I can't help but wonder whether, in importing so many of them, as Singapore is, that they might not be importing many people who are less law abiding than the very carefully controlled and groomed Singaporeans they are used to here. Of course, the young man's attitudes might be a rarity, but if not, Singapore might be in for a few surprises with its immigration policies favouring Chinese mainlanders over every other race and nation on Earth.

(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 @ 5:57 PM 


Blogger Christine said...

Here in Korea many of my students want to be pop stars or soccer players. They want the money and the fame. I know that it would be amazing of only one of my students would achieve a goal like those. Having a quiet life with its own rewards isn't what kids want these days. It's best to be a good citizen and friend to people rather than have lots of money and power and be a person that isn't good.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

I think the media is to blame for this focus of the young on hugely unrealistic career choices. They see successful examples of these career choices and think that all they have to do is want it, and it will be theirs. They have no understanding of the difficulties of ever achieving such unlikely goals. Of course, all of them - or almost all of them - are going to learn a very big lesson in disappointment.

Being a good citizen and friend, just doesn't seem to mean much to people. I suppose there is a greater pity in that than in their unrealized dreams.

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Totally agree with ya. The media's constant focus on the pop stars and their exploits have led to generations of youths thinking only to be like the next celebrity.

Perhaps, the media and reporters should turn their attention to something more productive- like science and real, current affair news, and not reel news.

7:42 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, can you imagine how much better a world it would be if people doing really substantial scientists, garnered the attention and accolades presently heaped on pop stars? We would have a whole generation of children wanting to grow up to be scientists! That would certainly be an improvement. Sadly, however, culture would have to shift a lot for this situation to come to pass.

Thanks for your comment.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The number of people of all ages just wanting to be famous can clearly be seen in the huge amounts of people who audition for talent shows over here.

So many are not very good, but have no idea how bad they really are. In contrast there are some really good ones who never knew they were really good. So it works in some ways.

Many boys want to be the next Wayne Rooney (soccer player) and Girls want to be Pop-stars.

While many from deprived backgrounds get involved with gangs and the lure or money, crime, girls and respect in general are main attractions.

11:05 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks Riverman for your view from the UK. It seems like the same force of the glamour of crime, is at work, there, too.

The funny thing is that, in Singapore, young boys do NOT want to be soccer players - because there are no local examples of rich ones (the pay is much lower than for overseas).

So, I suppose this youthful ambitions depend on local culture somewhat.

Kind regards

6:57 AM  

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