Genius at Birth [Archives:1998/39/Culture]

September 28 1998

This article is about a young Yemeni boy who has the mind of a genius. Ameen Mohammed Al-Matheel, 8, was born in Liverpool, England. He does not study at an ordinary primary school, but at a higher college. His Yemeni/British parents work in that north-western English city.
At 9 months of age, Ameen could already talk, by 12 months he could hold a conversation. Now he converses in politics, economy and social issues.
I talked to Ameen, his mother and grandmother.
Ameen the child prodigy:
“I would like to go to Cambridge University for my higher studies. I now go to the Liverpool College to get a private education.
“They discovered my outstanding ability at nursery school when I was just 3 years old. The teachers said that if I went to a normal school my abilities would be wasted. They looked around for a school that would be more suitable for me, and my family was very happy.”
He goes on to say, “I like to discuss world issues because it is very interesting. My favorite sports are cricket, football, and rugby. My ambitions in life include to get good GCSE results, get a university diploma and, hopefully, return to Yemen with my qualifications and find a suitable occupation.”
Does it bother him at all to have higher mental abilities than his peers?
“I’m very happy that I’m cleverer than my peers, although I have not met any British or Yemeni politicians or academics yet.”
He ends with, “I don’t think there is a big difference between the political situation in Britain and Yemen, although in Yemen, they need to be a little more organized about the way they do things. Also the outlook for the future needs more control, in good time (inshallah), Yemen will improve.”
Ameen’s mother, Mrs. Al-Matheel:
“The teachers at his nursery school were amazed by his ability even at the age of three. Teachers told him that one day he would go to Cambridge University. People would ask Ameen,” What school are you going to go to?” He would reply, I’m going to Cambridge. Everybody was amazed, but his peers in his class would always go to him for the answers, thus landing Ameen into trouble, so he sits alone away from the others.”
She continues by saying, “Sometimes I wish he was a bit more normal, because his mind works so fast. If you were to give him a book, he would finish reading it in 10 minutes.”
She then adds, “He is studying among other things, science and technology. He is also a very good sportsman. He has just been picked for the school football team, he is a football fan. He is extremely intelligent, not just in one subject but in many. He is an all-rounder, as they say.”She ends by saying, “I’m very proud of him. He will eventually have letters after his name.”
From what I’ve been told, if you showed Ameen a map, he could point out every country and even tell you its details – population, size, main attractions, etc. He knows a lot about politics, the names of presidents, etc. He goes to an Arab school on Thursday nights for 2 hours, and Saturdays and Sundays for 4 hours.
Ameen understands all of the Quran. During his two visits to Yemen, people were amazed how quickly he picked up th language, and how fluently he spoke. He has a tremendous memory, if you tell him something once you don’t have to tell him again. He speaks English and Arabic perfectly,. He is now studying French.
Ameen amazed all at a big store in Liverpool once with his grandmother when they were buying a vacuum cleaner. The assistant at the store did not have a clue how to assemble the machine, and even brought the manager to help him. While Ameen, looking at the instructions, all of a sudden, assembled the cleaner perfectly within minutes. The manager was amazed and told Ameen that one day he was certain to become a professor.
Another time Ameen amazed people in a bookstore. A man was watching Ameen for quite some time reading all kinds of books that only intellectuals would read, not for young children to pick up and buy. The man explained to his grandmother how amazed he was by a boy that age reading those kinds of books, and he said to Ameen himself, ‘good luck for the future.’ Ameen was only 7 years old at the time.
Ameen often asks questions about the world, and many people cannot answer him. He is several steps ahead. He is a generous boy and he knows how to speak his mind and stand up for himself.
There is nothing stopping this boy. He has confidence and a lot of encouragement from the people around him. But it is a shame that here in Yemen we have had no such encounter with somebody of Ameen’s ability.
Yemen has a high illiteracy rate, especially among girls. I see young boys in the streets. They’re not going to school.
Education brings knowledge. Knowledge creates ideas, and ideas create solutions. Education is not an option, it is a must. In this day and age, people must be educated.
By: Waffa Alawi Nasser,
Yemen Times.