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 +

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A lack of respect for others.

A few days ago, I witnessed the most unacceptable behaviour, here, in KL. At least, I view it as unacceptable.

I was outside a hall in which examinations were taking place. There were signs up for people to maintain silence. I was astonished, therefore, to see just how people behaved. Throughout the exam there were people walking past the exam room. What was unexpected about them was that, if there were two or more people together, that they ALWAYS talked, at normal volume, whilst near the exam room. They carried on, as if everything was normal, without any concern for those taking exams within, at all.

I tried to get them to behave better, once I noticed what was going on. I would approach the talking people and tell them about the exam room, quietly, and pointing to it. Again, I was astonished by their response: most of them carried on talking. One Chinese young man of about 18, even called me an “asshole” for telling him to keep quiet. He carried on talking despite being no more than about one and a half metres to the doorway to the exam room.

What amazed me even more is that some of the people who were talking outside the exam room, were the very staff appointed to look after the exam. They seemed to have no real care for their charges at all.

That was not the only source of noise that day. The doors out of the corridor that was adjacent to the exam room, were constantly being banged, as people opened and shut them, without taking due care. The clatter was very loud. Some of the staff, even left doors open, having passed through them, allowing sound from outside into the exam corridor. No-one seemed to be thinking of the examinees, at all.

An even bigger failing was that one of the doors to the exam room, would not stay open on its own, but had to be held shut – which no-one was willing to do – so it hung open letting noise in, unopposed, throughout the proceedings. I spent some time holding it closed. None of the staff noticed or offered to do so, themselves.
The biggest failing of all however was the way the exams had been arranged. There were many different subjects being examined, in the same room, at the same time. This meant that people were constantly arriving and departing, at various times, throughout the two hours I observed the exam room. This would have been very distracting for the examinees. Appallingly, whenever an exam finished, those who were leaving would burst into excited chatter about their exam WHILST STILL IN THE EXAM ROOM, as they left. They simply had no respect or consideration at all, for their fellow examinees still working all around them.

It was a very disappointing experience to see that NOT ONE person respected the requirement for silence near an exam room - not even the young staff appointed to care for the exam. It left me wondering: what is missing in the youth of Malaysia, that they care so little for each other? Then again, I have to reflect that not all the culprits were young.

The need for silence around an exam room, should be understood by all. Yet, it is seemingly understood by none. I say “seemingly” for I am sure it is, in truth, widely understood. The problem is that people just don’t care. I only have to look at the reaction of the Chinese boy who called me an “asshole” for trying to get him to stop talking right outside the exam room, to understand what is going on here. A generation is being raised, in KL, that simply doesn’t care about its fellow man. Now, this is not a problem unique to Malaysia. It is, I hazard, a global problem. Young people today, just don’t give a damn about anyone. What kind of world, I wonder, will they make when they move into positions of power over it?

It just doesn’t bear thinking about.

If you have seen signs that people just don’t care about each other, anymore, please comment below.

Afterword: Please note that the exam took place at the Menara Yayasan Tun Razak and was officiated by the British Council. This note is to remove ambiguity over which organization was responsible for this particular examination session. Thanks.

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posted by Valentine Cawley @ 9:32 AM 


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