[chinese blood, irish heart] - DEFUNCT: Child prodigy = marketing tool?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Child prodigy = marketing tool?

Would you think a child to be a prodigy if she published her first book at 7-years-old? Or someone who reads three books a day? Well, her parents certainly a bank thinks she is.

I met 10-year-old Adora Svitak from the US for a vidcast as she was invited to Hong Kong by Standard Chartered's Book Fair. My colleague seemed quite unabashed at his scorn towards Standard Chartered's use of this child as a marketing tool.

True enough there's been a lot of news lately about child prodigies, particularly on 9-year-old March Bohde-something. I can't say for sure if Adora is being blindly taken advantage of but even if that is, why do people get so concerned about whether these kids 'miss out' on life? Hey, at least they're not child soldiers.

One look at her website and it's very promotional - it's like, buy my books because I'm so cute and talented.

It would also be naive to say that Adora would grow up to balance her life like a 'normal' person and have a proper job etc. And what exactly defines a 'normal' person? You mean like a person of average intelligence, a degree, certain income bracket and living in a first world country? When I heard her mother say this, I just kept thinking what a 'normal' person is.
Then I glanced at Adora picking at her Delifrance salad. She looked normal to me.
Who's to say what this 10-year-old does is abnormal? What do people really hope to achieve when they criticse child prodigies and their parents?

Words like 'normal' and 'common sense' and 'weird' really sicken me. It shrinks the mind you know.