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, November 22, 2009

It's a mad, mad, world.

Yesterday, I was on the MRT with Tiarnan. The MRT, for those who don't know, is the train: the Mass Rapid Transit, of Singapore. The nearest equivalent would be the London Underground, though the MRT is mostly overground, as far as I can see.

Anyway, there I was, carrying Tiarnan, three, for the whole journey, because no-one would give up a seat and Tiarnan was unwilling to stand on the floor, in such a crowded train. Now, there is nothing unusual, in Singapore, with no-one giving up a seat for someone more in need of one: this is the tradition here, so that didn't surprise me (though it was unpleasant to have to carry him for the whole, quite lengthy journey, on two different trains). Were it not for the entertainment of talking to Tiarnan, the journey would have seemed a long one, encumbered as I was.

After we had been travelling about half an hour, Tiarnan remarked, in some irritation:

"Many people are talking!"

Sure enough, they were. Everyone was trying to talk at once, each competing with all the others to be heard: it was a cacophony of voices in different tongues: English, Malay and Chinese. It was pretty loud, actually.

"Why are they talking, Tiarnan?"

I wanted his views, you see, because they are often interesting.

He looked around him then, in stupefaction at his fellow travellers and said, with an intensity worthy of Hamlet:

"It's madness, madness, madness, ALL MADNESS!"

He was so intent, so focussed, so impassioned, in his view of how his fellow travellers were, that I did not laugh, I thought it, instead, sweet and typically Tiarnan.

We finished our journey together in mutual agreement that everyone around us was utterly bonkers. Any three year old can see that.

(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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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:

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 7:52 PM 


Anonymous mint said...

I hate to say this, but sometimes I get annoyed by the "Kiasu-ism" some Singaporeans display when taking public transport. Even when the bus is rather empty with plenty of seats available, some passengers just seem to want to be the first to board.

More often than not, even if I'm nearer to the door, I'll be standing by waiting for others to board. Incidentally, the first person to gesture "after you" to me was an "Ang Moh". I remember thinking, "Guys in Singapore should really learn to be gentlemen."

Of course, I've met some Singaporeans who have the habit of letting others board first, just not that often.

11:51 PM  

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