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, October 25, 2009

Electricians in Singapore: beware.

A few days ago, we had an experience that calls into question the idea that Singapore is a "squeaky clean" state. We called "Mr. Tay", an electrician. It seemed an innocent enough thing to do...but it was the beginning of nightmare.

We agreed a price with Mr. Tay to have his workers grout a bath and get a couple of lighting fixtures to work (which didn't work even with new bulbs in them). After much negotiation, a price was agreed.

The worker came very late, at 10.30 pm that night. He was a scrawny, mentally very slow, almost dead looking man. Clearly, he was being overworked by his employer. He did the grouting (not well), then said that he would be back the following day to complete the electrics. He asked for payment in cash, for the full amount. He wouldn't give a receipt but said that his boss would issue one. After some hesitation, we paid him, largely because he seemed too stupid to be a trickster.

The following day, three men including the one we had already met, turned up. They "worked"
for an hour on the wiring, ostensibly checking it for problems. They then demanded almost twice the fee already paid, in cash, in addition to the money already paid, before they would continue the work. Now, my wife was alone with them, for I was working. A great argument ensued, with my wife telling them, time and time again, that the full fee had already been paid. She even spoke to Mr. Tay...but he spent all his time lying down the phone, saying that the agreed fee of the day before had only been for the grouting. He wouldn't budge from his demands. When it became clear that my wife was not about to pay them an additional sum of twice the agreed fee of the day before, all three "electricians" left the house. The trouble was that they had left wiring exposed everywhere, in a real mess.

When I came home I argued with Mr. Tay for some half an hour, on the phone. This was no fun, since he spent most of the time shouting. His cries were of: "Your money so big, huh?" on the fact that we had already paid enough. "I have to pay for petrol and my men." and the real classic:"Be a gentleman". I thought this was hilarious since he was the one trying to extort extra money from us, beyond that which had been agreed.

The wiring was in a terrible mess, so we got another electrician down to look at it. He observed the wiring carefully and was clearly very puzzled. He said: "It looks like someone has deliberately messed up the will take some time to work out what they have done."

So, during their hour of studying our wiring, what they had actually been doing, was messing it up, so that they could create problems which they then would offer to solve for a large fee. To my mind, that makes Mr. Tay and crowd, criminals.

The new electrician spent a couple of hours fixing it all - and, you know what, after all the trouble we had been through, he didn't even want to be paid. He was doing it out of kindness. We did, however, give him something...though much less than the extortionate fee demanded by Mr. Tay's crooks.

The experience was a real lesson for us. Singapore is not a haven from criminality. Criminals can easily be found in the classified section of newspapers (where we found Mr. Tay). Our conclusion is that one should only engage people, of any kind, in Singapore, by RECOMMENDATION ONLY.

There needs to be more regulation and certification of electricians, plumbers and the like, in Singapore. There needs to be a body that guarantees the skills, quality and integrity of these people. Until then, do this: NEVER book an electrician, a plumber or anyone similar, via an ad in a newspaper or anywhere else. ONLY go by recommendation. That is the only safeguard there is, right now.

(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.

We are the founders of Genghis Can, a copywriting, editing and proofreading agency, that handles all kinds of work, including technical and scientific material. If you need such services, or know someone who does, please go to: Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals. 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:

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use Only with Permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 11:02 AM 


Blogger Indiana said...

"Mr. Tay" is not need to clean this article up to just show your experience and then give all the information about this company so that everyone knows not to use them.

12:59 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Well, Indiana, the problem is we don't know much about this company. All we have is the name, Mr.Tay,which may not be a real name, at all - and a phone number. We were given no paperwork at all. We have no idea, therefore, who we were really dealing with.

If I can find the number, I may include it.


1:54 PM  
Blogger Eaststopper said...

Just out of curiosity, is there anywhere in the world where electricians and plumbers are certified and officially registered?

I recalled when I was in London a year ago, we had the occasional polish plumber and electrician over to fix our pipes and wirings.

6:49 PM  
Blogger Indiana said...


7:18 PM  

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