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 +

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Berjaya Times Square and Bukit Bintang

I had always thought of Orchard Road, in Singapore, as quite a big shopping centre. That was until I went to Malaysia. Today, we went to Bukit Bintang and Berjaya Times Square. It was like entering a new world - a chaotic, gigantic, new world.

Berjaya Times Square is built as if for giants: it is a shopping centre on such a scale that it makes people seem dwarfish and insignificant. So big is it that I wonder just how often one would have to visit to actually get to know one's way around. At first sight, it seems an impossibility that anyone could ever know their way around such a huge place. Perhaps they don't. Perhaps everyone, there, is as lost as I felt and wanders at random, hoping to stumble on what they seek.

Now, I am moved to mention the Berjaya Times Square because of its bizarre peculiarity. This is a shopping centre so big that it even has a built in theme park. That's right...a theme park is hidden within this never-ending shopping complex. It has all the attractions one would expect of a theme park - fairground rides and a roller coaster, included (which snakes its way across many floors of the shopping centre.) What really struck me is that the shopping centre is just so large, that I had no idea that the roller coaster was there, until we ascended into one particular wing and heard screams passing by above. Looking up, I saw a roller coaster train whizz by, carrying its terrified (or excited) passengers.

Bukit Bintang, was just as surprising in its own quite a scarey way, if you are not comfortable with huge crowds. I rather think that Saturday evening is not the best time to visit Kuala Lumpur's answer to Singapore's Orchard Road.

The most obvious thing that struck one is how much bigger Bukit Bintang is, in every way, than Orchard Road: it seems to be a shopping nation of its own, engulfing one in a booming, bustling, confusion that, at first impression, has no order or meaning. However, no doubt that is because I don't know where I am, where anything is, or even what anything is. There are a lot of unfamiliar names all around. At present, it is a place that lacks clarity of meaning - since I can't encapsulate it in my mind and understand where everything is and what they are. I have no inner map: it is just a sense of retail chaos...however that sense of the chaotic largely derives, I would think, from my unfamiliarity with the area.

Perhaps, should I visit the area often enough, I would come to understand it, but right now, I just get a feeling of its great immensity.

I didn't think it was possible, but perhaps, just perhaps, Malaysians like their shopping even more than Singaporeans do - at least, they seem to have built shops on an even grander scale than Singapore has ever attempted.

Getting back to our hotel wasn't easy. We couldn't find a cab anywhere (there are too few for the capital, I think...and they tend to be choosier than Singaporean cab drivers - as in some of them won't drive you unless you go off meter...). So, we ended up on a crowded monorail train. It had two main recommendations: it was cheap - and it was faster than by road. Other than that, one could point to the overcrowding, but then Singapore has the same problem with its MRT.

As a first impression, I think I will never forget the startlement at seeing a theme park, inside a shopping centre...and those first screams of thrill-seekers hurtling overhead in their roller coaster, surrounded by shops. How wonderfully strange.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 8:40 PM 


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