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, May 21, 2009

Conversations with PRCs.

Speaking with PRCs (people from the Republic of China) in English, can be an illuminating practice. Indeed, it can be quite astonishing what they say.

Recently, I spoke to a PRC woman.

"What would you say if the person next to you, on a bus, started smoking?"

"Off your cigarette.", she replied, quite sure of herself.

I didn't smile, though felt like it. I continued to speak with her.

"What do you think of the welfare system?", I asked, somewhat later in the conversation.

There was a little pause, then she seemed to nod to herself.

"She is a beautiful girl, kindful and friendfully...and she helps me do my homework."

I had no words in me sufficient to reply to such a wondrous statement, so I just nodded, as if I understood what she was trying to say.

Perhaps, at this point, a little background on this young woman would be appropriate. She is a mainland Chinese woman, studying English. She is the best student in her class, in written work, but clearly has some trouble with spoken English.

I just thought that her example of incomprehension of spoken English would put into perspective the Singaporean practice of importing large numbers of PRCs, as cheap labour. I can only foresee a myriad of problems, arising from this.

She said something else which is so off the wall that I cannot even write it, without offending some people. Let us just say that she misunderstood an ordinary word to be a reference to certain illegal practices between people - and then launched into a statement in defense of people's choices in such matters. Yet, I had not even mentioned the subject at all. I suppose it would have been hilarious, if it wasn't so worrying.

Perhaps the people who import PRCs should try to speak to them in English, before offering them a job. They might just then have the kind of experience I have, when I speak to them.

(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 @ 11:27 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

shes probably not use to your accent

1:28 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

For her sake, I wish it were so simple...but this particular PRC has heard my voice many times. That is no explanation, therefore, unfortunately.

5:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the consequent are already in the making, as I witness more and more PRC vs Singaporean Chinese rivalries. Both sides don't rally together but against. Both sides speak different Mandarin, eat differently, talk differently, behave differently. Both also seem to grow in hatred of each other. Strange, if you think how small Singapore is, for hatred to breed in.

4:15 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, it is rather ironic, that they are sacrificing the social cohesion they say they seek, for the economic benefits they truly seek. All that matters around here is matter what consequences there might be in its achievement.

Thanks for your comment.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Dean said...

The more pitiful ones are our maids. Some of them don't even know the languages spoken in Singapore. Oh well... we need cheap labour. Singaporeans are too pampered(more so when our younger generation are geting better educated) to do certain jobs. Maybe when the chinese currency appreciates in the future we may see a decrease in PRCs? Maybe.

But I do get annoyed by the scholars... in my secondary 3 class(i am now in JC), 1/3 of my class are scholars (my school had thai/indian/chinese scholars).The Singapore education system is competitive enough but Singapore still invites scholars and pay for their education. Most of them are certainly not going to stay in singapore... i don't know why singapore doesn't spend more money helping the poorer students instead.


12:11 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. Singapore should help its own...but it doesn't. This is a hard country and rather soul-less.

We have experienced this preference for foreigners in our own education. It has been impossible to get certain things for Ainan...whereas foreign scholars get everything for free. Great stuff.

10:17 AM  

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