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, June 25, 2009

H1N1 flu and personal hygiene, in Singapore.

H1N1 is busily making its way through the ranks of Singaporeans. Presently there are a couple of hundred confirmed cases (and no doubt quite a few unknown ones, too) and it is spreading throughout the community. The danger is, of course, that it could become very widespread. This would lead to many deaths, if so, because of its 0.37% death rate (according to the death rates observed in America, which should be typical of a person in a developed nation receiving maximal treatment).

Now, Singapore is an overcrowded little island. Everyone knows this. Moreover it is clear that this presents difficulties in creating "social distance" to reduce the spread of the virus. People live and work close together. They jostle each other on the streets and on public transport. Life, here, is a bit of a squeeze. Reducing large gatherings, such as school assemblies is one way, however, of reducing the spread of infection. H1N1 need not become nigh universal in the population...but I worry that it could.

There is another cause for worry, however, apart from the relative lack of "social distance". This is personal hygiene. In my decade or so in Singapore, I have noted that many people here have yet to discover the use of the taps and soap, in public bathrooms. Too many men walk out of the toilet, without washing their hands (whether they had been using the urinals, or the cubicles). When I first noted this, many years ago, it gave me a little shudder of revulsion, at their filthy habits. Now, however, I am quite used to it and had come to see it as the local way of ensuring that the population doesn't rise too quickly (lots of extra infective deaths!)

With the advent of H1N1, this tendency of local men not to wash their hands after using the toilet is very worrisome indeed. The reason is clear: for even if there was nothing transmitted to their hands, in the toilet, that might prove dangerous or unpleasant, the washing of hands, upon visiting the toilet, cuts down the daily accumulation of pathogens, on the hands. Quite simply, regular washing of the hands, reduces pathogens on the hands and reduces the transmission of ALL infections, not just H1N1. Washing hands upon using the toilet is a basic public health measure, therefore. However, it is something foreign to many local men, who seem to think that having odoriferous hands is trendy.

So, please, wash your hands, after using the bathroom - and encourage all you know to do so, too. It could mean the difference between H1N1 being relatively rare, and becoming truly universal, in Singapore.

(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 @ 10:45 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg.. that is so disgusting!

2:59 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, that was my initial reaction, too...yuck!

3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and you need to wash for at least 16 seconds to ensure hands are clean !

9:40 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thanks for that tip: that is longer than many people would imagine.

Kind regards

11:06 AM  

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