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, February 13, 2010

On inspiring the gifted.

Over the last week or two, we have learnt something interesting about the consequences of Ainan's move to Malaysia, to receive an appropriate education. His move has, basically, not gone unnoticed, and is not without its influence.

The other day, I was speaking to someone in education, in Malaysia. They observed that parents of gifted children, from as far away as the United States, had contacted her, with regards to finding a place for their gifted child to pursue an education in Malaysia. She spoke of two specific examples, that she was in touch with: one from America and one from Asia.

Now, just think what this means. I spoke to ONE person in Malaysian education and they had had TWO recent contacts from parents wishing to migrate to Malaysia for the education of their gifted child. Both sets of parents had been prompted to make enquiries in Malaysia, on hearing about Ainan.

It seems clear that, in choosing Malaysia, we have, effectively, endorsed its private education sector as a viable choice, for the parents of gifted children. We have put Malaysian education "on the map".

What is most telling about this is that we have only spoken to one person in Malaysian education - and they were personally handling two cases of gifted children, from overseas, seeking a suitable schooling, in Malaysia. How many others, therefore, are there, throughout the Malaysian education system? As I write, there could be many parents, from around the world, making enquiries of Malaysian institutions.

This is about more than Ainan, of course. You see, Ainan's move only highlighted an existing situation in Malaysia's private education sector: the open-ness to being flexible with a gifted child. This is a property of Malaysia's private education sector. Our discovery that this flexibility existed and the move of Ainan to the system, only brought attention upon this open-ness. Had the open-ness not been there, we would not have moved and there would be no spotlight upon Malaysian education. Thus, the credit goes to HELP University for being open, not to us, for going through the door.

It is fascinating to consider, however, that the move of one gifted child, from one country to another, can actually affect the lives and life choices, of many other gifted children. Thus, the effect of Ainan's life choices (or the ones we make on his behalf to open a way for him), ripple outwards and affect many lives. There is no telling how many lives are changed by that simple decision. As other gifted children investigate Malaysia as an option, and some choose to migrate there, their examples, will, in turn, inspire others. So it is, that the decision of one person, to move to Malaysia for an education could have the effect of making Malaysia, what Singapore strives to be, "an education hub".

Malaysia has certain advantages over Singapore that Singapore can do nothing about. The cost of living in Malaysia is much, much lower than in Singapore. Thus, the cost of securing an education is a mere fraction of what it is, in Singapore - for, not only are school fees lower, but the cost of being there, is lower, too. Thus, families can afford a BETTER education in Malaysia, than they could in Singapore, if their budget is in any way constrained (as most middle class and below budgets are).

Then again, Malaysian people are warmer and more friendly than their Singaporean counterparts - who are usually too busy making a living, to make life comfortable for others. So, living in Malaysia, can be more enjoyable, for many.

Singapore thrives on its own legend, which has been carefully crafted over decades of international PR efforts. Yet, it is all just PR. This public relations has had two sides to it: a) Singapore is no. 1 and b) Malaysia is awful. The funny thing is, that neither statement is true, in any way. Singapore is not no.1 in anything significant (most Europeans consider it mediocre in most respects, except public safety, public transport and predictability) - and Malaysia is actually a very pleasant place to be, in most respects. Sadly, however, many people believe Singapore's PR - because they are Singaporean and don't know enough about the wider world to know that Singapore is NOT "no. 1" - or they have not spent enough time in Malaysia to come to know it, and so believe the negative propaganda that Singapore spews out, about it, on a daily basis.

There is a world beyond Singapore and there are viable education choices, outside of Singapore, in South East Asia. Though it was not Ainan's intention to do so, his simple move from Singapore to Malaysia for an education, has been a revelation for many: it has shown them that an education is possible in Malaysia, in the private sector, that it is viable, affordable...and decent enough to be chosen by Ainan. Already, people are reacting to this news and gifted families are now considering Malaysia, for their children's education. This is something we did not expect, but perhaps it is something we should have foreseen.

It will be interesting to see how many gifted families move to Malaysia. I will keep in touch with my friend in education and see what happens in the cases that come their way.

(If you would like to learn more of Ainan Celeste Cawley, 10, or his gifted brothers, Fintan, 6 and Tiarnan, 4, this month, please go to:

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:
Ainan's IMDB listing is at
Syahidah's IMDB listing is at

Our editing, proofreading and copywriting company, Genghis Can, is at

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

Labels: , , , , , , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
posted by Valentine Cawley @ 12:48 PM 


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps you may want to read PERC recent report on Malaysia. Im sure as an independent and respected organization, its views are credible.

Im also sure that the recent attacks on places of worship are a plus point too. But then again, i have not read much about it on your blog, so i guess its probably a non-event to you maybe?

Each country has its own pros and cons. Furthermore, we do not have to bother what others think about us. To do so would only reinforce the idea that our self esteem and worth is dependent on others. And if that is true, then we have an image problem. Perhaps you would know that in Europe and many other western countries there are huge deficits? And ironically for countries like the US, its deficits are being bankrolled by countries like China. Its strange then that any nation should even be affected by what Europe and the US thinks.

I guess what im trying to say is this- Do whats best for your country, and not bother about what others think of you, for they know little of the ground level activity and situation. And that is exactly what the Malaysia government said in response to the PERC report. So well done! This is exactly how the US reacts when people criticize it for human rights abuses in G.Bay...etc. They ignore it and hit back at others for exactly the same crime. Lol.

12:18 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

You think in a very Singaporean way. You criticize Malaysia on an economic basis (PERC is economic)...and go on to do the same to the US and Europe. I find this bizarre. There is more to life than the economy...and whilst a country may have economic problems, that does not mean it can't be culturally adept or educationally sound. Your point has no point, basically, since it is irrelevant to the matter in hand.

America and Europe have influential cultures, in the main because they have cultures with something to offer the wider world. Singapore's culture does not have this influence, because, at this stage of development, it doesn't have much to offer.

Yes, Singapore is economically solid...but it hasn't, yet, translated that economic strength into building a vital complete society. Singapore is still incomplete in many ways. Attacking other countries for their economy, won't help Singaporeans recognize what is missing in their city state.

Thanks for your comment.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Genius Experiment said...

this is extremely interesting. I am actually looking at moving to Malaysia from the UK with two kids - not that it's impossible to get a great education in the UK, but if you look at the cost of private education and cost of living in London, then definitely Malaysia looks like a much more attractive choice. Plus I assume in general SE Asia will provide better quality in maths and science education.
What I would find extremely helpful would be if you could share some names of schools you researched and recommend. I understand of course if you don't want to share anything personal about Ainan's school, but perhaps something high level based on the research you conducted before moving there - which might be good schools, other than KL which cities are attractive for this purpose? thanks so much!

4:02 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Hi Genius Experiment,

Before I could answer your question, I would first have to know how old the kids are and whether they are boys or girls. Also, I would need to know if you intending to send your kids to private schools, or public ones. The private schools in Malaysia are cheaper than the ones in the UK. Please give me these details.

10:38 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape