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 +

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Malaysia's serial killer lawyers.

Yes. I didn't believe it, either. However, as I write, Malaysia has erupted with news that two lawyer brothers are, it seems, responsible for murdering at least 17 people, some of them, at least, of whom are clients or business associates.

Now, what makes these crimes even more surprising, given Malaysia's social stratification is that one of the accused lawyer brothers is a Datuk. That is equivalent to the European aristocratic designation of "Lord". He is - or was - a highly respected and very well positioned member of society. He is, also, it is alleged, a rampant serial killer.

The people presently known to have been murdered include Sosilawati Lawiya, a millionaire Beauty queen tycoon, whose disappearance along with her driver and her lawyer, sparked the investigation. All three were murdered, their bodies burnt. Since then it turns out that an ever rising number of people who had contact with the lawyer brothers, have turned out to have been murdered. Only a few days ago, newspapers were saying that 9 had been murdered. This morning that tally has risen to "at least 17". They even include a housewife, T.Selvi who was related to the brothers, by marriage. Her husband had lent money to people designated by the lawyers (which included a woman close to them). Two tranches of the money (of sums up to 80,000 RM at a time) were not repaid. The lawyer brothers then threatened THEIR OWN RELATIVE that his family would be harmed if he didn't drop the matter. In due course they attacked him, then killed his wife. After her death, he received a phone call saying they would wipe out the rest of his family, if he didn't back off. Curiously, the police did not really investigate his complaint with any vigour at the time.

Now, police are examining the main suspect's poultry farm at Sungai Gadung, near Tanjung Sepat and the waterways close by for bodies, bones and personal possessions. It is a grim mission and one that moves me to ask: how on Earth could two brothers, capable of such gruesome crimes, ever have become lawyers and climbed to such respected positions in society in the first place?

A man does not just become a serial killer overnight: there must always have been, within these two brothers, a murderous darkness - how is it that no-one saw it, until now? How is it that they murdered at least 17 people who had encountered them, perhaps all of them through their business dealings...and no-one had noticed, until a very high profile victim disappeared?

There seems to me to be too little oversight in who is allowed to become a lawyer and who is conferred the title of Datuk. No-one who could commit crimes like this, should ever become the local equivalent of a Lord. It mocks the whole idea of a respected position in society, when that respected position is occupied by a monster closer to Hannibal Lecter than the ideal of an aristocrat.

It is my hope that, in the light of this, there might be implemented a system of assessment of the character of applicants to the legal profession. Every potential lawyer should be examined closely for evidence of evil in their disposition. Should there be ANY signs of dishonesty, undue anger, violence or vengefulness in their background, such a person should NEVER be allowed into the legal profession. To do so, is only to court the kind of gross criminality these two brothers indulged in. When a monster is placed in a position of trust, over his client's money, it should be little surprise if the client ends up buried in a country estate, somewhere, as it appears likely these brothers did with their clients.

Then again, there is the matter of the Datukship. How was such a worthy title ever conferred on the lawyer in question? It can only mean that he utterly gulled society with his personally constucted image of worthiness. To my mind, that means that people were only looking at the superficial aspects of his life - and not examining too closely the character behind it. Surely, even if he managed to put on a public persona, is it not certain that, in the privacy of his own family environment, that the monstrous side of him, would have been clear? Would they have not seen dishonesty? Would they have not been victims of rage or seen his immoral dealings, firsthand? Might they not have heard speak of "getting rid" of people...of plotting the demise of people who, mysteriously, were never heard from again? All of this is very likely...yet, the family said nothing. So, even if the brothers are convicted in this matter, I don't really think it is enough. It might be wise to look at the entire family of these villainous two, and discover to what extent they might have been complicit in the crimes.

If there is a lesson to be learnt from this, for Malaysia and the wider world, it is that we cannot assume that, just because a profession is respected, that its members are worthy of that respect. A lawyer may not be lawful in their dealings, though they are supposed to be custodians of the Law. So, too, with the police, accountancy, medicine, science and any other number of professions. The integrity of a person can never be assumed, it must be proven by their conduct. In the case of the Law, however, given the special position of trust, in which lawyers are placed, it would seem negligent of society, if special procedures were not put in place, to ascertain the integrity and decency of the members of the Law. A new requirement should, therefore, be put in place, for admission to the profession: a character check. So, too, should such a check apply to anyone who is to receive a title, such as Datuk. No one should be made a "Lord" who is not worthy of being one.

I hope that such a character check can be implemented, soon, on all members of the legal profession, present and future - for many are the crimes of lawyers, around the world, though they are usually less notable and of the financial variety. I have heard of untold numbers of lawyers disappearing with their client's money: there is one sure way to stop that - make sure they never become lawyers in the first place. It is, therefore, a preventable category of crime - it is only up to society to take action to snuff it out, before it happens.

(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
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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 10:34 AM 


Blogger E said...

To those who are close to that set, it is not particularly surprising that lawyers, particularly ones of aristocratic background did such things, but rather that they got caught and are being held to account.

The foundation of the old aristocracy is leading in war, that is, killing. The foundation of the new aristocracy is "making a killing". In either case, placing themselves above their fellow man and ruthlessly denying their "inferiors'" interests in favor of their own is the essential attitude needed to be an aristocrat.

Lawyers are essentially modern knights, not of historical fantasy but as they really were - brutal men employed to do battle and rewarded with everything power has to offer.

I know one prosecutor who fits both types exactly - his ancient crest features a head on a pike with blood running down the shaft. He was a paratrooper in N. Ireland in the troubles, he has supervised the executions of many defeated enemies in Iraq, and turned a blind eye to the torture of countless others. At least one of his close associates, another prosecutor, died under mysterious circumstances, stabbed dozens of times in his car, yet it was ruled a suicide. Did he have anything to do with it? Likely not, he is better with a gun than a knife, but indirectly - who knows? He is subtle. It seems there may be an unusual number of suicides around him.

The upper class is not like most people - they went to better schools. In a proper boarding school like the one that the prosecutor above attended from the age of seven, the tacit lessons are taking and meting out brutality, never ratting out your fellows, no mater what they do, and above all, not getting caught. These lessons make the children of the upper class into the kind of people they have to be to continue to stay on top.

2:07 AM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

E, you paint an unnerving picture of the upper classes...ouch.

Whilst it is true that historically the aristocracy were a bunch of legalized killers (on the field of battle, after all that is how they acquired their land, reputations and titles), I would hope that, in the modern world, there has been a growth in humanity and civility. Perhaps, however, this serial killer example throws that assumption into question.

Yes. The aristocracy do look down on others. They do it very well, compulsively and sometimes irrationally: I have encountered this kind of thinking from them. Yet, it may not be justified by their personal attributes. Of course, they can't see that. However, the essential attitude of superiority over the rest of the world remains.

These prosecutors you know sound horrible, evil, even, or at least, amoral. It is a worry to think that they are lawyers. It seems you are wise not to name them...

Thanks for your slant on the world.

9:46 AM  

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