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 +

Friday, October 08, 2010

The death of a mentor.

Ainan's only real mentor, in Singapore, Dr. Ng Kok Chin, has passed away. I had not expected to write such words, so soon, but the fact is, Dr. Ng Kok Chin never recovered from the illness which struck him down in December 2008. He had spent the almost two years since then, in a coma and never awoke to the world, again, after a brain operation that did not go as well as had been hoped.

I have written before of our gratitude to Dr. Ng Kok Chin, in my post, "A word of gratitude". That post now stands as a testament to the great character of the man. If you wish to know more of Dr. Ng Kok Chin, read how I described him in that post.

Here I will say this: Dr. Ng Kok Chin was a greater support to us, in educating Ainan, than anyone else we ever met, in Singapore. He stood up for us, when others wouldn't. He advised us, when others couldn't be bothered. He fought for us, when all others lay around either doing nothing, or trying their best to be obstructive. He was a man of good character who really wanted to help Ainan become what he could be. To see him gone is tragic really, especially since he was not an old man. I don't know his age exactly, but apart from his grey hair, he did not look all that old. He still had many years left in him, if the world were a just place.

Dr. Ng Kok Chin was the orchestrator and organizer of Ainan's education at Singapore Polytechnic. When he fell into a coma, so too did Singapore Polytechnic: they stopped being supportive the moment Dr. Ng Kok Chin was out of the way. So, it was made most clear to us that it was he and he alone who supported Ainan's presence at Singapore Polytechnic and not anyone else there.

Dr. Ng Kok Chin believed in Ainan and championed him. We are grateful for that and will always remember his warm, gentle ways.

I wish he had been able to see what Ainan is becoming - but he never did and never shall. He would, I feel, have been pleased to know that his intervention was leading to greater things, for Ainan.

I have one sad memory of Dr. Ng Kok Chin that I feel I should relate. On one of the last occasions I ever saw him - perhaps the last, in fact - he spoke of how thankful he was that he held a job as an academic at Singapore Polytechnic. He was thankful because his job was secure, even in tough times. So, he told me, he did not have the fear of recession that many workers have. He knew that his job would always be there for him. He knew that he would be safe from retrenchment.

It is sad that, at the virtual end of his conscious life - for shortly thereafter he had the brain operation from which he never recovered - all he was thinking about was the security of his job and how that nothing would take it away from him. Little did he know, that something would not take the job away from him - but him away from the job. He had but days of consciousness at that time. Then he was gone, never more to know the world.

The memory is a sad one, for he was clearly planning for a future that was never to be. He was thinking of his job security in the years ahead and of how his particular kind of appointment would allow him to weather it. He had, it seems, no inkling that his conscious world was almost at an end and that his life, for all reasonable definitions of life, was soon to be ended - indeed, only days later, it was.

Whatever plans he might have had, that now will not ever be, I am committed to making one plan come true - for my own reasons, it is true, but he might be pleased to know it, too. Dr. Ng Kok Chin clearly planned to aid Ainan to his greatest fulfilment. He clearly planned to help him in whatever way he could. He wanted to see Ainan reach his potential. Well, I plan, at least, to do my best to ensure that that happens. Perhaps, I feel, that would have pleased Dr. Ng Kok Chin - for he could not have been more involved in helping Ainan along the way, than he was.

Thank you, Dr Ng Kok Chin for all that you did to help Ainan. We shall ever be grateful.

Rest in peace, my friend - for more than a mentor to my son, I considered him a friend, by the end. Thank you and goodnight.

(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: 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.

You can get my blog on your Kindle, for easy reading, wherever you are, by going to:

Please let all your fellow Kindlers know about my blog availability - and if you know my blog well enough, please be so kind as to write a thoughtful review of what you like about it. Thanks.

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 @ 9:00 PM 


Blogger Makbed said...

Such a great lost. Condolence from me.

11:15 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Thank you Makbed.

3:10 PM  
Blogger tearsunderstars said...

My deepest condolences. The saddest thing is that the one who helped Ainan the most passed away among the others who refused to help. Though, I'm not implying that someone else should die instead, rather, why was the life of the most helpful one taken away?

7:38 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes. It does seem unjust that he who so helped Ainan should die. I can think of more deserving alternates!

There is no reason in this, there is only randomness. We all die at some time - his death was just supremely ill-timed. In a very real way, I think that, had he not fallen ill, we would still be in Singapore, because we would still have active support there.

10:05 PM  
Blogger Innie said...

I google his name and landed on your site. Thank you for writing about Dr Ng Kok Chin. I am from Malaysia, and attended TAR College. Dr Ng used to teach us Chemistry there before he went to Singapore in the late 80's. We will always remember him as a wonderful teacher and a good friend and a thoroughly good person. Rest in peace, Dr Ng.

11:53 PM  
Blogger Valentine Cawley said...

Yes, he was a very sweet natured man. We miss him. He was very good to us, when so many others were not. It is such a pity that he has gone, so young (well I consider middle age, young to die).

Sadly, very few people seem to have written of him, on the net. Perhaps good people are not as appreciated as they should be.

Thanks for stopping by and writing your memories of him.

1:17 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape