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 +

Monday, January 18, 2010

Did you hear?

Sometimes conversations are strange affairs. They can change one's perspective on life.

Today, while in Singapore, I was engaged in conversation with a very enthusiastic homeschooler. She was really happy that her kids had "never been to school". She spoke of how "free" they were and of how "they actually got to sleep." (For those who don't know, sleep is frowned on for Singapore's children, since they have to get up at about 5.30 am to go to school. Great stuff.)

Then the conversation took an unexpected turn.

"Have you heard about that boy, who is gifted in physics and chemistry?", she began, as if about to broach a matter of some seriousness.

"Yes. I think so." After all, I am his Dad.

"Well, they wouldn't let him homeschool." She frowned at this. "...and now he lives in Malaysia."

I sort of nodded sympathetically.

"It is very sad.", she said, with what seemed like genuine feeling.

Somehow, I didn't feel like telling her quite how I knew the boy she spoke of. It felt better that way. I didn't want to colour her reactions or her feelings, by letting her know. It was better, instead, to observe her genuine sadness that Ainan should have had to leave Singapore because he had not been free, here, to pursue an education to his liking and needs.

It did feel odd, however, to be spoken of, as if she knew of us - and yet, she didn't know me, at all. She didn't even know she was speaking to the boy in question's father. I was just an attentive listener, to her, a sympathetic ear. I can only imagine her surprise if she had known just who I was.

It was good, though, to see that she was sympathetic to Ainan's situation. She understood the need to go elsewhere, to find a more fitting educational environment - and she sided with him, not with the "system".

This encounter has made me aware that our family story has become one shared and related by people in the region. It is a matter to be discussed and reflected on. It was heartening to hear, quite innocently, from this lady, that some, at least, side with us, over the issue. Her words of empathetic support are all the more valuable, in that she had no idea who she was saying them to.

Thanks to that Singaporean homeschooler.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, a scientific child prodigy, aged 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6, or Tiarnan, exactly 4, please go to: I also write of gifted education, IQ, intelligence, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, College, University, HELP University College, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Computer Programming, Science, genetics, left-handedness, precocity, child prodigy, child genius, baby genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, wunderkind, wonderkind, genio, prodigy, genie, 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. Thanks.

IMDB is the Internet Movie Database for film and tv professionals. If you would like to look at my IMDB listing, for which about another fifteen credits have yet to be uploaded. This will take many months before they are approved. Please go to: for my listing. Ainan’s listing is at My wife, Syahidah Osman Cawley’s listing is at:

This blog is copyright Valentine Cawley. Unauthorized duplication prohibited. Use only with permission. Thank you.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 6:59 PM 


Blogger chamint said...

quite interesting blog you have here... nice to hear that you have the best interest in your children...

nicely portrait in your point of view ;-) keep on writing....

p/s: read on newspaper about you guys today...

2:48 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Chamint.

By the way, in which newspaper and which country, did you read of us today? It would be great if you could let us know.

Yes, we are trying hard for our children.

Kind regards


4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have made these articles much easier to read by removing your advertisements at the bottom of the posts.


6:42 PM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

Sorry, but I didn't intend to remove them. That was because I couldn't post them the way I wanted.

I am afraid the ads will have to return: they are important, for my purposes.


10:58 PM  
Blogger chamint said...

I read it on Metro; Wed :20 Jan yesterday news

from Malaysia.

10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its the PAP buddy. They are so afraid of losing that they need to keep things tight, lidded.

Then it trickles down to the majority race as you say. They are under siege and they lash out.

The grandfather of Singapore is a racist. What else his kids? You can read some of his comments on the net.

1:04 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. I think you are right. As in most societies, the people at the top set the tone. In Singapore's case the man at the top is famous for his racist it is only to be expected that they should seep through his society. He has, after all, made such views socially acceptable, by making it clear that he holds them!

Best wishes to you.

2:48 PM  

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