Posted by: Gurindam Jiwa | Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Hadafi Syndrome

Adi Putra enjoying an ice-cream Sufiah at her wedding in Oxford UK, 18 October 2003. Yao-ban Chan has now become Melbourne University's youngest-ever PhD graduate

We don’t have a program for child prodigies.

Mohd. Shukri Hadafi made big news in 1976. Hailed from Baling, Kedah, he was only 3 years old when he could already read the newspapers.

Jins Shamsuddin (currently Senator) took him to act in the film Menanti Hari Esok in 1977.

His parents sent him to a Chinese school, fearing that a Sekolah Kebangsaan syllabus would bore him and impede his progress.

Prof. Ungku Aziz adopted him.

Then the media highlighted that he was now a penebar roti canai. I remember reading that he would like to be the best penebar roti canai in the world someday.

That was 1997.

Apparently he had done many odd jobs trying to make it, including as a laborer and chicken seller. Rumor has it that he later became a drug addict. Some say he sells dried coconut in Padang Terap.

One of the things about learning is that we should learn from our mistakes. Another thing about learning is we should also learn from other people’s mistakes.

Well, this country just never learn.

Be it about transportation system, or town planning, or how to handle child prodigies.

I don’t expect our IPTS to be able to handle these wiz kids, because they want money. Although if they’re smart, they could use these kids as their promotional items to get more business. It isn’t as if these kids come in droves.

But wizards like Hadafi and Adi Putra come from middle to lower income families. Malay families. These families are not highly educated, but smart enough to recognize the potential that their children have.

They can’t afford to send their kids to England, or New Zealand, or America. And they can’t afford to stay home and nurture these kids full-time, because their salaries don’t match their cost of livings.

They need help. And our school system, IPTA, and our Government should be able to help.

For goodness sake, we just saved RM4billion from the petrol subsidy!

But that is not happening. Why?

The sky is the limit as to what these kids could become. May be that’s exactly what the Government and the politicians are afraid of.

While the Chinese and Indians recognize their own child prodigies, and do something about them, we just talk. Because we want Adi Putra to be another Shukri Hadafi.

So the next time kids like these show up, we might just as well throw them to the dogs.



  1. Excellent posting. These are examples to show our civil servant are too mechanical, refuse to use common sense and does not even attempt to think ahead. Who does the thinking in Government. Wonder what the consultant from Kennedy School of Government can do, if it is so culturally embedded that being in Government is abt authority and the attitude of an authority is to show who is the boss.

    The way this Adi Putra kid is being flout around, does it seemed that the dad is capitalizing on the kid? But the thing abt kids <7, could they eventually end up losing steam.

    I met the parents of Sofiah in a UIA talk some years ago. They way they say it, anyone can do home school and parents must be really involved. Anyway I found out years later that it was my cousin who arranged it cause they were close friends with them in Britain.

    I do not know, did she completed her study at Oxford. If she did, she’ll be much welcome by that Orang Asli Rembau.

  2. […] into the situation? It will never work. That is about as optimistic as I can get. I have said this before. What would have happened if Mozart went to a regular school as other children despite his talent […]

  3. Salam tuan,

    Accidently found this blog after searching some info on genius kids. Such a nice blog with short & sharp info inside, very well said…may Allah bless u & family.

    Allowed me to link with this blog. Jazakallah n wassalam.

  4. Thank you & please do.


  5. I had linked this page & another one on “We Will Lose Adi Putra” only. Tq again for permission given. Wassalam…

  6. Thank you Abu al-Fateh, & you are welcome.


  7. Salam,

    I just want to share some of my opinion. For me, its obvious that adi putra had highly intelligent in maths and analytical skills. So, no wonder he will be bored to study the simple math as taught in schools.

    Actually, in overseas there’s some foundation that accept this kind of person such as John Templeton Foundation and Johns Hopkins University. However, i dont think their family affordable for that or government Malaysia afford to recognize those kind of foundation.

    Thus, i like to suggest for adi putra family to perform at home education to ensure their son skill not be wasted. There are several ways that can be done by them such as sudoku games ( or teach him with some programming works like C programming or PASCAL. I believe he will be interested.

    For more advance, they could teach him with some robotic skills (its should be simple for him).

    But to succeed this, their parents or relative should be proactive. Use the internet wisely. There are a lots of things that their son could learn via internet not like Mohd. Shukri Hadafi in old days since no such thing in 1970’s.

    For my advise, don’t look these in negative side since these our chance to brighten the new generation. Thanks.

  8. […] for me after reading about Sufiah Yusof. I have always had my fear for prodigies (previous postings here and here), especially Malay prodigies. And now we read about Sufiah. Does it really has to come to […]

  9. after reading about what hapened to sufiah i now fear for adik Adi Putra.. life is no fun for a prodigy/

  10. i once was a gifted children could read at the age of four was born in 1949 after the war. I know what is going to happened to young gifted children born in the year 2000. why because no proper planning placed on this important national assets. no statesman understand this because they are never through it
    so i was a wasted item but manage to read and read up to now.
    now i have two breakthroughs in apis dorsata domestication and the breaking of dormancy period of temperate seeds under tropical conditions have contacted the european patent office but the reply is negative from david evans the official there
    now doing research on anti sound waves barrier and already found the hints after going around for 360 degrees. hopefully this will make a debut soon. this topic is very much like lasers
    so you see after independence reading materials is not available and malaysian culture does not welcome young gifted childrens. this already known from the folklore `singapura di langgar todak`
    no wonder there is sufiah yusuf hadafi adi putra…
    but the latest we see ainan cawley, mother is malay and father is irish. but the man is already a genious
    one more thing young gifted chilren runs in the family

  11. finally found an interesting blog written by a local, with thoughtful posts and comes with intelligence too. politically correct…

    well done mr writer!

    thanks for sharing,

    You’re welcome.

  12. i don’t understand, why is that when child prodigies emerged from Malaysia their parents are so eager to let the world knows that these prodigies are Malay, Malay and Malay. does race really matter? do other non-Malay prodigies also did the same thing? have the Malay people lost their identity and need to be reminded by these “Malay” prodigies?

    Good point.

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