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09/05/2007 04:48 PM ID: 64725 Permalink   

9-Year-Old Finding University Mathematics "Too Easy"


Hong Kong: After completing the GCE A-levels in the UK with an A in math and further math along with a B in statistics, March Tian Boedihardjo has complained that his first university class was too easy, saying he had learnt the material 2 years ago.

There has been some debate as to whether the young genius, who is the youngest student ever to enroll in a Hong Kong university, has the maturity to cope. His father will attend class with him for the first semester.

"We will adjust the curriculum if he finds it too easy. He is very impressive. He is still a child, but speaks in an orderly and logical manner," said University president Ng Ching-fai, who asked the media to leave the prodigy alone.

    WebReporter: ixuzus Show Calling Card      
ASSESS this news: BLOCK this news. Reason:
  He probably still loses his homework.  
Well- let him hang out and develop at a normal rate. He WON'T be able to cope because he doesn't have the experience to cope.

Silly parents! Don't push kids to hard and too quickly. Let him develop socially and enjoy having a child to love at home. Who care how smart or dumb they are? Kids are cool.
  by: theironboard     09/05/2007 05:05 PM     
Who says they're pressuring him? He is of schoolgoing age. Why shouldn't he be taught new stuff? And why wouldn't he be able to be a kid?
  by: Ec5618   09/05/2007 05:19 PM     
  Alright, so he's a genius  
Let him enjoy being a child whilst he can.
  by: daniel2508     09/05/2007 05:19 PM     
  I dont see a problem  
If he is just going to school and he is as smart as he is let him learn as much as possible. No one said they were gonna make him get a job or run the country. He can still be a kid and do more difficult work than other kids his age. It would be sad to hold him back and make him do work that doesnt challenge him just because they are scared he wont have a normal childhood. Hell his childhood is already abnormal by him being that smart.
  by: h0tdamn365   09/05/2007 06:09 PM     
  Why can't he learn and play?  
Seems his biggest problem is getting bored with easy maths classes. Why shouldn't he have his intellect stretched?
  by: CrisW   09/05/2007 07:19 PM     
  Kids like this do end up with social problems.  
There are problems with going to college or high school when you are 9. I have personally seen the outcome. The problem is that these kids (for the most part) wont be able to get the life experience they need to be a part of a society as they do not get to learn and interact with other kids their age. Unless he has already developed amazing social skills, will he be able to enjoy social events at the university? Will he be able to find friends? From my own personal observations, no he wont. His parents have to work extremely hard to avoid this by helping him find friends his age and enjoy doing "kids stuff". If they don't he will likely turn out sheltered and will not be "street smart" at all. It would be much better if he could get a higher level of education at a normal school with kids his age, at least he would have opportunity to develop emotionally and socially.
  by: OneEightSeven   09/05/2007 07:28 PM     
  well the kid is right  
The kinda math they teach you in your first couple years is rather pointless and boring to mathmaticians. Which is what discourages most people from going that route to get to more advanced stuff. I used more advanced mathmatics when I was 12 then I ever was "taught" afterwards. Thats why I hate schools in general, they punish people who already have the knowledge by making them sit through useless crap like stats... That shit is common sense, why the hell is there a class for it. I really feel sorry for this kid and that the stupidity of the average person forces him to waste his time in unchallenging classrooms.

I probably wasn't as smart as this kid is, but I was once considered a "prodigy" (although I don't think I'm smart I think other people are dumb).But I feel his pain. Having to sit through and complete trivial work is the bane of great minds. Just the other day I was confronted by three levels of Bosses up my chain of command because I was not "participating" in a training class. It was difficult to explain to them that their three days mandated training took me a whole 15 minutes to scan through and another 15 minutes to complete all the training exercises. Most of the people in there were struggling for the whole three days to learn it, constantly needing help by the internal trainer. What made it more painful is they are all professionals who have at least bachelors degrees and specialize in the field, on the payroll of the Tax Payer. While I on the other hand am the youngest person here and started as a college intern at 16(6 years ago California law does not allow for skipping highschool until the age of 16). Frustrating. Especially since I lack any kind of social skills to communicate just how trivial such things are and naturally expect other people to be on par with me(I did not attend school or have any social experience after the 6th grade, because there was no point, I waited till the age of 16 to challenge the state for a Diploma, which I was granted.)

Anyways I really feel for this kid, the education system doesn't do him justice. He will definately also miss out on the "normal" life from being catapulted beyond social peers, but its a trade off... The math really is too easy also:).
  by: Tetsuru Uzuki     09/05/2007 07:40 PM     
That is really interesting- especially how you are having problems now. Some people truly are gifted in one area but pushed so hard they end up nuts and incompetents in almost all other areas of life.

Schools don't try to punish individuals like the way you describe it... but they often fail to offer proper channels of education for kids. I am not saying this chinese prodigy shouldn't go to university, just that they ought not make it his sole function in life.

Ever wonder how your nutty professors in college managed to function outside of the university? They don't! That's why they are lifelong students and eventual campus ghouls.

  by: theironboard     09/05/2007 08:08 PM     
  I feel your pain Tetsuru  
While kids like this do have social problems I can think of a lot of other “problems” to be born with that would cause much greater harm to that individual. This kid’s future is secure; he will have no problem finding a job, ever. We had a kid like this at Iowa State Univ. He was 13, had a PhD in math, was working on two more PhD’s in physics and ceramic engineering. He was working as a Math Prof at the college. No, he probably didn’t have a “normal” childhood, it was probably not possible. But he had a guaranteed career. If he was born paralyzed from spina-bifida he would not have had a “normal” childhood and he would have little chance of getting a job or leading a “normal” life either. It could always be worse. Don’t waste too many tears on this little prodigy.

I do empathize with him, I went through it to too a much lesser degree. I was shoved ahead a class and was tormented after that by the older, bigger kids I was to school with. Most of them couldn’t keep up with me either. This caused problems. I know what its like to sit through classes that are so easy they bore me to tears. I was often disciplined for looking out the window. Hell I got the concept they were teaching in the first 2 minutes, 45 minutes later I was ready to slit my wrists to end the monotony. NEXT! It could have been worse, I could have been one of those kids that still didn’t get it 3 days later. I will save my sympathy for the mentally under endowed. I could not imagine not being able to grasp concepts and put them to use, to have to depend on others to do my thinking for me while I stand there like a boob. The boy will have problems granted, but he will do alright and eventually he will marry and have kids and they will be little geniuses too. We need more geniuses to straighten out this messed up world.

I do wonder if it is just math that he excels in. With some savants it is only one area of the brain that excels while other areas lag painfully behind. I could do calc in my sleep but had a very hard time with English and writing. I considered myself a tard in that dept. (no comment from the peanut gallery). I got better (thank the Goddess for spell checkers). Seldom do savants excel in all areas simultaneously. Would be interesting to find the answer to that question.
  by: Valkyrie123     09/05/2007 09:39 PM     
An asian kid, good at math? imagine that...
  by: ukcn001xyz   09/05/2007 10:14 PM     
  yeah yeah..  
good for him, just hope he doesn't go batsh*t and start shooting the place up because of *social* differences.
  by: matr1x   09/05/2007 10:59 PM     
You're all commenting about being pressured, blahblahblah.

The boy isn't being pressured, he's (trying) to push himself academically. He even stated himself that during his free time, he hung out with friends.

GG no re!
  by: DekaR   09/05/2007 11:04 PM     
Also mathS not math.
  by: GarouNova   09/06/2007 12:49 AM     
  Chances are  
Okay, it is possible for an exceptional genius to develop naturally with that level of talent and still have brain development time left over for developing socially.

However, more often than not, these cases are the result of the parent(s) pushing the child down a demanding path that requires those formative years to be spent building a brain that thinks in one line almost without exception - even if later on the child becomes social, he will have trouble with recognising and adapting behaviors that are not really logical but intuitive and social.
  by: lauriesman     09/06/2007 01:53 AM     
Math is correct in a western tense
"I've studied Math"
"There are many differenet types of Math"

To truly absolve this, just say Mathematics and no one can complain

HOWEVER, I have a problem with learnt :P

just nitpicking, awesome article
  by: hl2k   09/06/2007 04:17 AM     
In the UK we call it "maths", not "math", it's short for "mathematics", which is a plural, hence putting an "s" on the end of "math" too.
  by: TabbyCool     09/06/2007 01:53 PM     
  Regarding math  
Normally I stick to British/Australian spelling and usage. In this particular case it was a matter of simple practicality as I recall. The words started out as mathematics but we only get 250 characters and I didn't have enough... I didn't particularly like it but it is technically correct according to US dictionaries.
  by: ixuzus     09/06/2007 03:57 PM     
  We have kids like that here also!  
To bad most of them have Aspergers!
  by: FunnyGirl   09/07/2007 01:35 AM     
What would ass burgers have to do with math
  by: Syoware   09/07/2007 09:52 AM     
  too narrow  
i don't think studying maths exclusively at so early an age is healthy... do we know if he's studying any other (arts) subjects?
  by: rcavi     09/07/2007 10:51 PM     
  I Once  
saw a genious with a head THIS BIG!

this child is going to grow up thinking he is better then everyone else, when from the story all he is good at is math.

Awesome child I hope he finds his true potential exercised.

Put him to work on free renewable energy. Or quantum computer chips.

  by: soda1   09/14/2007 09:15 PM     
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