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, July 05, 2010

Top 10 countries for child prodigy.

Google Trends provides a list of the top 10 countries for interest in child prodigy. This is a listing of the relative density of searches from various places, for child prodigy. It is, therefore, a measure of what the populace of those countries are interested in.

I would like you to take a moment to write down what you think this list of the top 10 places interested in child prodigies would be. Please do so. (By the way the search summary is from 2004 until the present, so it is a very significant snapshot of interest in the phenomenon of prodigiousness).

Right. Now which did you think was the number one country in the world for interest in child prodigy?

The answer is, tellingly, Singapore.

I said, "tellingly" because Singapore is one of the world's most competitive societies, educationally: every parent wants a super bright, super successful child. Most parents push their children there (we don't) in ways that are most disagreeable. The child is forced to study endless hours, to practice deep into the night and to endure many hours per week of extra tuition. It is a system designed to turn every child into a drudge for academic work. So, in that society, it is no surprise that there should be so much interest in child prodigies. Unconsciously, or otherwise, the child prodigy is somewhat of an ideal for Singaporean parents.

The other societies in the list were:
2) Malaysia
3) Philippines
4) United States
5) New Zealand
6) India
7) Canada
8) Australia
9) Ireland
10) United Kingdom

Note that the search density in Singapore was twice that of Malaysia and the search density in the UK was a small fraction of that of Singapore. So, Singapore is, by far, the winner in this "competition".

(This trend is even more interesting when the listing for interest, city by city, is looked at. On that listing, Singapore is still no.1 in the world in interest in child prodigies - but Austin Texas is no. 2 and ALL the other 8 places in the top 10 are American cities. This shows great interest, in parts of the United States, for prodigies, exceeded only by that of Singapore. It is, perhaps, no coincidence that both countries are very competitive.)

What is most interesting about this result is that, although the people of Singapore, as a nation, are very interested in child prodigy, the government of Singapore, as embodied by the education system, is not. We found great opposition to the provisions we needed from the education system, in Singapore. It was very difficult to work with the Gifted Branch of the Ministry of Education. In the end, we decided that it would be easier to get Ainan what he needed, elsewhere - and so it has proved.

So, this is another example in which the government of Singapore is out of sync with its people. Singaporeans are enamoured of child prodigies...but the PAP is not. The state of Singapore does little to support prodigies and quite a lot to oppose them. How interesting it is, therefore, to see the contrast between the government's position and the irrefutable tale of Google Trends.

(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.)

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:00 AM 


Anonymous ks said...

FYI (another topic)

Leader's income versus GDP

5:06 PM  
Blogger vivek ramteke said...

More than 50 percent Child prodigy are Indian in USA (AMERICA)

1:18 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Vivek, please provide names of prodigies to justify your claim. The prodigies I am familiar with such as Michael Kearney, Akiane Kramarik, Adora Svitak and Marla Olmstead, etc. are most certainly not Indian. I am not familiar with any Indian prodigies in the USA. Please name them for me.

Also, note, that if a child prodigy was raised in the USA, rather than India, that makes their educational influences AMERICAN...and it becomes quite difficult to claim them solely for India.

Another factor: my list is not about numbers of prodigies, but simply the interest in prodigies. Thank you.

4:18 PM  

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