Friday, April 4, 2008

Genius: A Bless or Curse?

Who’s Who?

Generally, expert said that a person who had IQ index above 150 is considered as a “Genius”. IQ was calculated as a ratio with the formula 100 x mental age/chronological age. It means that the ratio of mental age and chronological age for a Genius is 3:2. They are people of great intelligence, who show an exceptional natural capacity of intellect, especially as shown in creative and original work. Genius may come in a variety of forms, such as mathematical genius, literary genius, or poetic genius, etc. Artistic genius may show itself in early childhood as a prodigy or later in life; either way, geniuses eventually differentiate themselves from the others through great originality. Intellectual geniuses often have crisp, clear-eyed visions of given situations, in which interpretation is unnecessary, and they build or act on the basis of those facts, usually with tremendous energy. Accomplished geniuses in intellectual fields start out in many cases as child prodigies, gifted with superior memory or understanding.

Malaysian Children Prodigy: Where Are They?

Remember Mohd. Shukri Hadafi? A child who sparks the local newspapers on early 1970s because of his ability to read newspaper only at 3 years old. Now, what happen to him? Where is he? It is reported on early 1990s that he’s working at a stall as a Penebar Roti Canai . There are some sources too that said Shukri falls into the world of drug-addict. The Genius adopted son of Prof. Diraja Ungku Aziz lost his potential which makes him very famous before. There must be something wrong somewhere.

While for Chia Ti Ming, It is a terribly sad story. He had enjoyed an extraordinary life as a genius and blessed by being the youngest student ever at California Institute of Technology (CalTech) last two decade. However, he dead on early January 2007 because of uncontrolled, enormously bad depression, which caused him to be admitted to HKL on 2002. We lose another so-called precious asset.

It is a far complex matter happen to Sufiah Yusof, another remarkable child prodigy. The daughter of Farooq Yusuf, a Pakistani and Halimahton, a Malaysian was a child math genius who won a place at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford University aged just 13. But now the only sums Sufiah Yusof is interested in are the ones she earns as a HOOKER.

Sufiah Yusuf

Maths prodigy who won an Oxford place at 13 is now a £130-an-hour HOOKER

By Keith Gladdis

SHE was a child maths genius who won a place at Oxford University aged just 13—but now the only sums Sufiah Yusof is interested in are the ones she earns as a HOOKER.

For sad Sufiah the daily equation she has to solve is simply sex equals £130 as she sells her body to punters over the internet.

With family

The gifted girl with the winning smile had the world at her feet ten years ago and should be a rich woman by now—but last week she was busy subtracting her underwear for our undercover reporter in her dingy back street flat.

“Would you like to start your half hour now?” said Sufiah, 23, as she danced on the bed, displaying her body for examination.

Then she listed all the sleazy plus points she would throw in for our man if he took up her offer.

Calling herself Shilpa Lee, the former child prodigy still juggles with figures on a hookers’ website, describing herself as a “very pretty size 8, 32D bust and 55 tall—available for booking every day from 11am to 8pm.”

She says she is a “sexy, smart student” who prefers “older gentlemen”— but a former pal who has witnessed her downfall told us: “It is all desperately heartbreaking.

“With her amazing brain she should be able to make money any way she wants. But instead her life has spiralled completely out of control.”

Life has never quite added up for Sufiah. Her descent into prostitution in Salford, Manchester, is the latest in a long line of tragedies to have engulfed her since the sunny day when she posed with her university mortar board for the world’s press outside prestigious St Hilda’s College.

Our shock revelations today come in the week her domineering dad Farooq was jailed for sexually assaulting two 15-year-old girls as he home-tutored them in maths.

And he was always at the root of all her troubles— even as she passed the further maths A-Level she needed for entry to Oxford at the age of 12. In those days Sufia was a strict Muslim child who prayed five times a day and was subjected to her father’s famous Accelerated Learning Technique.

Her days involved stretching and breathing exercises in freezing rooms to keep her brain attentive.

Sufiah would then study hard and be forced to play tennis with just as much intensity as fanatical Farooq drove her on. The routine was so effective Sufiah was seeded number eight in the country for under 21s.

But three years into Oxford, the 15-year-old sparked a massive police hunt after running away.


At the time her father bizarrely claimed Sufiah had been kidnapped and brainwashed by an organisation seeking the key to her intelligence.

But Sufiah sent an email to her family describing her life under her father as a “living hell”.

One message to her sister read: “I’ve finally had enough of 15 years of physical and emotional abuse. You know what I am talking about.”

Sufiah was missing for two weeks before being found in an internet café in Bournemouth where she had been working as a hotel waitress.

She refused to go back to her parents and instead was taken into the care of social services.

It was then revealed that Farooq had been jailed for three years in 1992 for his part in a £1.5m mortgage swindle. Before that—at the age of 19—he had been sent to borstal for his role in a conspiracy involving £100,000.

Free from the spell of her father, Sufiah returned to Oxford to complete the final year of her Masters in Maths.

But she was now more concerned with enjoying herself—and failed to finish the course after meeting trainee lawyer Jonathan Marshall.

Sweet moment with Jonathan Marshall

They were married in 2004 when Sufiah was just 19 and Jonathan 24. But the strains with her family were still there.

Despite being invited, Sufiah’s parents and four brothers and sisters failed to turn up to the wedding.

Her dreams of a happy life with Jonathan were shattered when the couple divorced just a year later.

Now, in her sad little flat, she uses her body to pay the rent. Sufiah met our man, posing as a punter, at the entrance to her building wearing a tiny skirt, leather boots and a tight t-shirt. She was carrying three mobile phones.

She laughed and joked as she led him to her small apartment where a bed was already set out in the lounge.

She told him it was £130 an hour and offered him a glass of water before putting some music on to a cheap portable stereo and nervously stripping down to her red lace bra and knickers.

Sufiah then peeled off her underwear and danced on the bed. She told him she did full sex with a condom and oral sex without protection.

After our man had made his excuses, Sufiah kept him talking by telling him how she was studying for a Masters degree in Economics on a part-time two year course in London.

The former prodigy added: “I’ve got exams coming up and I’m thinking ‘Oh my God!’”

Once described by her parents as “naïve and unstreetwise”, she works alone from her flat without any obvious physical security or protection.

She even admitted to our reporter: “It’s always a surprise who you are going to meet.”

Cheerful Sufiah gave no indication of any sadness at the jailing of her father the previous day. On Wednesday Farooq, 50, was sentenced to 18 months at Coventry Crown Court for touching two 15-year-old girls when he was home tutoring them at maths.

The court heard how in May last year Farooq arrived at one of the victim’s home for a maths lesson.

He started whispering in her ear and kissing her hair and cheek. He also touched her breast and told her she was a genius and pretty before putting her hand on his upper thigh.


Farooq’s defence lawyer Tim Hannam said: “He’s been back in prison for over five months and knows there’ll be no more teaching and any hope he had of gaining an income from the teaching method he had developed to a high degree of success is lost to him. His reputation is destroyed.”

Now it’s clear the daughter who fled his strict regime has almost been destroyed too.

Her friend said last night: “Sufiah has suffered so many knocks in her life. I just hope she can drag herself out this life she has got herself into.

“She is a good person and deserves a much better life than this. Her gift really has been a curse.”

Sufiah, who’s regarded as nice, righteous, and pious at his early age with bless of genius by Allah, end up in the world of prostitution after facing uncertain and problematic life. Another Malay Muslim genius child becomes the victim. What the heck has happened? Who’s next?

Meet Dr Chan

after completing year 12 subjects at 10, mathematician Yao-ban Chan has now become Melbourne University’s youngest-ever PhD graduate. Photo: Craig Abraham

Lucky Chan Yao-ban, another Malaysian-born child prodigy, at 21, today he becomes the youngest-ever PhD graduate at Melbourne University. Mr Chan, who was born in Malaysia and raised in New Zealand, was largely home-schooled by his mother Peck-Woon, a microbiologist, and father George, a director with Heinz. He is now conducting a research of statistic method to identify the protein abnormality in human brain to diagnose schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He has met the right path to trim his ability to the peak. My question is, do we need to run away from Malaysia just to support such kind of children? Well, we do have bodies such as National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), Malaysia. Apparently, that is not enough.

Who’s Adi Putra?

Adi Putra

Another young math whiz Adi Putra Abdul Ghani, who could read newspapers by the age of four, fascinated Malaysians with his ability to solve Additional Mathematics problems. He faces the possibility of being thrown out of his primary school. The parents of the seven-year-old boy have received show-cause letters from his school, SK Jalan Matang Buluh in Bagan Serai, warning them that he could be expelled for cutting classes too often. His mother Serihana Elias, a former teacher, said her son was reluctant to go to school because he was bored with the basic syllabus of reading, writing and counting lay down by the Education Ministry. Let’s put it in simpler manner. What would have happened if Mozart went to a regular school as other children despite his talent in music? What would have happened if Mozart’s father didn’t capitalize on his talent? Let’s read what Allah says in Surah 13 ar-Ra‘d, verse 11 as a point to ponder:

لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِّن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللّهِ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَإِذَا أَرَادَ اللّهُ بِقَوْمٍ سُوءًا فَلاَ مَرَدَّ لَهُ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِ مِن وَا

For each (such person) there are (angels) in succession, before and behind him: They guard him by command of Allah. Allah does not change a people’s lot unless they change what is in their hearts. But when (once) Allah willeth a people’s punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will they find, besides Him, any to protect.


Nurtured and taught the right way, we can expect great things from the children prodigy in the future. But until then, it is also important that the glare of the media and attention be diverted away from them. They are still first and foremost children and should not be exposed to such pressures. They should be allowed to enjoy the things every normal child enjoys. Every child have their right to have a normal childhood, to experience everything a normal child should experience, regardless of whether he's a genius or not. The most important thing here is not only to nurture their abilities so that they will not be one day burnt out like many other geniuses around the world, but also to build him up in other skills, not just Math. The government is supposed to be the umbrella body: supporting and nurturing. The government must also realize that this is not a problem. This is actually an opportunity. Supposedly Genius is a manifestation of bless and not curse naturally. So, please don’t manipulate them as if they are some kind of alien as it is going to destroy the nature of Genius itself. Till then, thank you.

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