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, July 12, 2009

A land of queue jumpers.

Singapore is a land that has both many queues, and quite a few queue jumpers. Contrary to its international reputation for being law-abiding, I have often found that some Singaporeans ignore social rules, for selfish momentary gain. They think, in short, of nothing and no-one but themselves.

Yesterday, I was returning books to the library. I had about eight on me. In front of me there was a queue consisting of two groups of people, who waited one behind the other, to put their books in the return slot, at the library. (For those who don't know, this is an automated check in system, in which placing the book in the letter box like slot, automatically checks it in as "returned" in the computer system).

The first group had quite a few books, since they seemed to be returning books for several people, but I waited patiently, unable to see which books they had taken out. The second group had a man in it, who, oddly, had two female romance novels in his hand. He was Indian, of about fifty, with balding hair. Perhaps, however, he had a romantic heart - unless he was returning them for another. Yet, he was not wearing a ring. He held the books in his hand, a little jumpily: they jostled up and down, nervously, in his fingers and I felt, perhaps, that he was uncomfortable to be seen holding them.

At last he sidled away, leaving me to return my books. I began to do so, opening each one to check that nothing had been left between the pages. One light flashed. Two books: light flashed...flash...flash. I had returned four books, leaving four unreturned when a Chinese woman as old as the other man, perhaps five years older, appeared to my right hand side. She was readying two books in her hand and was moving them towards the chute, despite the fact that I had not yet finished.

I stared her in the eye and shook my head vigorously from side to side, to indicate that she was NOT to return her books, until I had finished.

She ignored me. Her hands leapt forward, then, at once, in a sudden motion and dropped the books in.

I was disgusted at her.

"What makes you think you can jump the queue?" I asked, looking down on her in more ways than my height invoked. Such people never reached the height of others, in moral terms.

"It is just two!", she defended before scuttling off like a cockroach that had been surprised in the kitchen, mid-feast.

"Stupid person!", I said, reflexively, as she departed. I hope she heard me...but doubt that she did.

So often, in Singapore, has this kind of scene played itself out, for me. So often have locals jumped the queue, to save themselves a few seconds - and to offend all who had patiently waited.

There is more to being a law-abiding society than obeying the laws that the police enforce (but often don't...but more of that in another post). There are also the social rules that should not be broken. In my eyes, the social rules are just as important - for they are what prevents society from degenerating into disruptive anarchy.

People like that woman go through their lives, cheating at every turn, putting themselves before all others and justifying it with such statements as "It is just two!" In other words, they believe that what they do is so minor as to be of no consequence: it is not. It is just not true. What they do disrupts the order of society, causes irritation and offence - and punishes everyone else for obeying the social rules out of consideration for everyone else.

There is, unfortunately, only one way the typical Singaporean queue jumper would stop jumping queues - and that is if it became genuinely illegal to do so, punishable by large fines, at the least. Then, we would see, an advent of order in the land's queues.

I had long wondered at why there are security cameras on the return books letter boxes. Now I think I know why: it is, perhaps, to monitor any fights that break out in the queues, over whom should put their books in next. You see, in many countries, queue jumping quite quickly leads to altercations. Perhaps, at times, it does in Singapore, 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: 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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If you would like to look at my IMDb listing for which another fifteen credits are to be uploaded, (which will probably take several months before they are accepted) please go to: As I write, the listing is new and brief - however, by the time you read this it might have a dozen or a score of please do take a look. My son, Ainan Celeste Cawley, also has an IMDb listing. His is found at: My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley, has a listing as well. Hers is found at:

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:34 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi read about your son from the Harian Metro.

1:35 PM  
Blogger fufsayd said...

ikonw it from today harian metro(16th 07 2009).i had this thought..for some reason,if you mix white guy and malay girl..the child born will be really smart..but if you mix malay guy with white chick..they only turn to be model.. (^_^) sorry for my bad grammar..i not really good in speaking english..

3:18 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Your theory is very funny. I have no comment to make other than that I am not sure if the act of mixing two races will produce such results: I think it depends on WHICH white guy and WHICH malay other words, just like any other parents.

Thanks for your comment.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi ya, am a malaysian but been in UK for the past 5 yrs. Stimes i do read online newspapers and as u already knows tat is how i heard of u n the blog. Yr q jumpers note really intrique me therefore, I am so lucky to be in the UK here as everybody just love queueing :-D

10:49 PM  
Blogger Ahnaf said...

Half blood
is always smart

12:02 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi you have any studies/evidence on that? I have met mixed race people who were rather beautiful, but not necessarily smarter than anyone else...again, I think it depends on which parents, of whichever race. You can create a smart kid from ANY race, if you have the right parents. (There is a lot of variation within all races).

Thanks for your comment. I must say though that I do like the phrase "Half blood"...!

12:32 PM  

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