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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 +

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Wikipedia: a strange case of the disappearing entry.

On two occasions, over the past couple of years, someone, unknown to me, has gone to all the trouble of listing Ainan Celeste Cawley, my son, in the "list of child prodigies" on Wikipedia. On both occasions, he was listed under "Chemistry". Now, he certainly qualifies for such a listing - yet, something odd happened to that listing on both occasions: it disappeared.

I have watched this saga of Wikipedia with some amusement. You see whatever ends up on Wikipedia reflects the workings of many anonymous contributors. Clearly, there are contributors out there who would like to see Ainan listed. However, also clearly, there is someone out there who keeps taking his listing down. What is most curious about this is that by the criteria of entry, Ainan's listing should definitely remain. However, someone doesn't wish this criteria to be obeyed. On the first occasion, a query was raised that references should be provided for the statements made. Now, I could have provided the references but for two reasons: firstly, I don't care either way, whether there is, in fact, a listing - and two: I don't know how to use Wikipedia, so I am not in a position to contribute any information, without the probably not inconsequential labour of finding out how it works.

So, the first time, I sat by and watched whilst no-one provided the references requested - even though Google provided them, immediately, at one search of his name. In due course, his listing was deleted - probably for lack of such references, I assumed (though anyone who had deleted it did so negligently, since they didn't even use Google to check whether the references were out there: a single search would have answered them.)

The second time Wikipedia listed Ainan was over the past few days. This time, however, someone provided a full reference to the statement claimed. Yet, rather inexplicably, the listing was deleted again - even with the reference (a media source). This, I find most revealing. Someone, somewhere, clearly doesn't want him to be listed - even if the statements are sourced and properly referenced. That, it would seem to me, goes against the spirit on which Wikipedia is built.

Yet, I don't mind. If there is someone out there, who finds it necessary to go to all the trouble of deleting Ainan's Wikipedia entry, every time someone puts one up - then I really don't care. You see, whether or not there is such an entry doesn't change anything about Ainan's life - or mine. Nor does it make it any harder to find out about him: Google has seen to that.

However, it is a bit sad, that anyone would actually go to all that trouble, each time he is mentioned - especially since he has met the criteria for entry these past three years. I can't imagine myself deleting information on someone I didn't know, for reasons that couldn't objectively be justified. It all seems a bit strange.

So, if you have arrived on this page looking for Ainan's Wikipedia entry - he probably doesn't have one - not because no-one has ever started one, but because someone doesn't want it to exist. Why not read this blog instead?

Thank you.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, or his gifted brothers, please go to:
http://scientific-child-prodigy.blogspot.com/2006/10/scientific-child-prodigy-guide.html

I also write of gifted education, child prodigy, child genius, adult genius, savant, megasavant, HELP University College, the Irish, the Malays, Singapore, Malaysia, IQ, intelligence and creativity.

My Internet Movie Database listing is at: http://imdb.com/name/nm3438598/
Ainan's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm/3305973/
Syahidah's IMDB listing is at http://imdb.com/name/nm3463926/

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at http://www.genghiscan.com/

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

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:31 PM 

14 Comments:

Blogger carina_maria_k said...

"Why not read this blog instead?"

A much more reliable source, I'm sure. :)

4:02 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. Indeed, it is. Thanks!

11:17 AM  
Anonymous Jim Ong said...

Mr Cawley,

I read about your son's situation on the Wall Street Journal with a measure of empathy and amusement.

I went through elite schools in Singapore, but immigrated to the United States after national service, where I started a family, that coincidentally, includes a 10 year old son.

To be concise, his mathematical talents are obvious. Fortunately, in the state of Minnesota, there are multiple options for gifted students which certainly makes life a little easier (I don't have to move)

Maybe it's paternal intuition, but I believe if our sons met, they would hit it off. My son is also curious about chemistry, especially hydrocarbons.

If you do get a chance to visit Minnesota, I would be happy to host you. I do a fair amount of contact through Facebook...if you're on it, a friend link perhaps?

12:24 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Dear Jim,

Thanks for your comment. It is good to hear that your gifted son has suitable provision nearby. It wasn't so easy for us...as you have read...so we left.

Anyway, I rarely check facebook - maybe only a handful of times per year, so that is not the best way to contact me. I would say that email is best since I check that everyday.

We have never been Minnesota, but I think your intuition is likely to be right, re. our sons, should they meet. Ainan likes other bright kids, when he gets the chance to meet them.

So, keep in touch via email. If we ever have plans to see the US, we will let you know. Who knows, maybe part of Ainan's education might be there, sometime.

Thanks for your empathy - and we share your amusement, though it is probably somewhat less amusing for us, than you!

Keep in touch.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Dear Jim,

Thanks for your comment. It is good to hear that your gifted son has suitable provision nearby. It wasn't so easy for us...as you have read...so we left.

Anyway, I rarely check facebook - maybe only a handful of times per year, so that is not the best way to contact me. I would say that email is best since I check that everyday.

We have never been Minnesota, but I think your intuition is likely to be right, re. our sons, should they meet. Ainan likes other bright kids, when he gets the chance to meet them.

So, keep in touch via email. If we ever have plans to see the US, we will let you know. Who knows, maybe part of Ainan's education might be there, sometime.

Thanks for your empathy - and we share your amusement, though it is probably somewhat less amusing for us, than you!

Keep in touch.

1:02 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

By the way, Jim, you are lucky to be raising your son in the US. I think he is likely to be a freer personality there, than if you had stayed in Singapore.

Best wishes.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glory be to Allah who had granted you with a beautiful Malay/Bugis wife and gifted you with genius children.

Almost everyday I read your newest posting when I know your blog 3days ago. In fact, I put it in my blog list.

Could you please share with us any tips/practices of you and your wife before, during and after pregnancy. Maybe there are several practices which help the brain and physical of your children to move faster than normal people. Or you do not have any secret, and everything are gifted by God?

Waiting for answer from Malaysia.
Regards,
(A Muslim woman/mother of Malaysia)

8:00 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you for your comment.

My wife's pregnancies were all entirely normal. She even delivered normally. There is nothing unusual to report, in any way.

Unfortunately, I am sure that there is nothing that can be done - other than perhaps genetic engineering/cloning, which is not practical at this time - to create a child like Ainan. There is no practice or regimen that is going to produce such a child. So, I would say he is a gift from God: he has just the right combination of characteristics of each parent to be particularly effective when mixed together. He is a very lucky boy, to be.

I wish you luck on your children. Each of them, is a unique mix of the attributes of each parent and should be cherished as the one off, never to be children that they are. No two children are ever the same...not even twins are exactly alike. So, treasure your kids and accept them for their own particular beauty, sweetness and enchantment.

Thank you for your kind words on my blog.

Best wishes

9:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that was quick!! how did you notice that the entry was taken down so quickly??
do you check it everyday?

4:17 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Your wording is strange. For you to know that that was "quick" you, too, would have to know how long the entry had been up. It suggests that, either you are checking frequently - or that YOU took it down.

No. I don't check everyday. However, I am informed of changes on the net that reference my son. So, I was informed of the appearance of the entry, in the first place. Then I looked for it, a couple of times, on subsequent days, because I already know that someone is taking these entries down. So, I noted its rapid disappearance. That is all.

I have checked Wikipedia perhaps once every three months...no more. Yet, I noted this appearance/disappearance. There may be others that I have not noticed.

Whatever the case, it is pretty pathetic that someone keeps on taking down the entries: it suggests that they are envious, jealous or a little bit mad.

I hope, therefore, that it wasn't you.

Kind regards

10:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well unlike you i know how to use wikipedia and simply went to the history of the page where it says it was taken down 3 days ago.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Oh. That is good to know. However, I still don't know how it works...but it helps to know that that function exists.

Thanks for letting me know.

Kind regards

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Garrett said...

Hi Mr Cawley,

I've read about your sons plight from the media, and as a Singaporean I can definitely empathize on your struggles with the inflexible policies of MOE in getting a education suited for your child, Ainan.

One thing that I don't understand. All this time, have you considered approaching other countries with more established education system that has a more creative and flexible environment (e.g. US).

I'm sure MIT and Harvard would be willing to consider taking in your child once they get to know about his special needs.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Syahidah and Valentine said...

Dear Garrett,

America was considered...but I had a rather unpleasant time, on more than one occasion, at immigration, in America and I came to the conclusion that I didn't want to be in a country that treated its GREEN CARD HOLDERS - as I then was - in such a way. I can only imagine how it treats those who are not even residents. America gave me the impression of being rather brutal and I don't want my children to grow up in a brutal country - flexible though the education system might be.

We would probably be in America, were it not that America has already made it clear, to me, that it is not such a nice place to be.

Then again, online hostility to our family has come almost entirely from two nationalities: American and Singaporean. So, I would say that the people of both countries have demonstrated that their nations are unsuitable residences for us.

Thanks for your suggestion though.

6:44 PM  

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