Surely, there are many tales about child prodigies that end up in tragedy. For example, William James Sidis, who was perhaps regarded as the most ingenious person in the world with IQ amounting to 300, and had extraordinary talent in mastering more than 200 languages before he was a teenager. He had unusual skills in Mathematics, and always excelled in almost every subject well. He had read The New York Times by the time he was – if I’m not mistaken – 2 or 3 years old. He had been admitted to Harvard University – of course the world’s best university consecutively for decades, and among his senior, he was considered as ‘superior’ in terms of skills and talents his father had nurtured. Instantly, he became an international phenomenon.
I was reminded of a Greek tragedy on Icarus – about how he struggled to be the first man who could find freedom by floating in the air like a bird. The sun roasted his entire body in the end. In Sidis’ case, his father was the ‘sun’ in the story Icarus had to face. In order to achieve more popularity, Boris Sidis – his father who was the ‘first’ psychologist and psychiatrist to discover his son’s unusual talents, always placed more emphasis on William. By giving him some extremely intricate, or complicating, questions almost nobody but deities or deity-like creatures could solve, William James Sidis slowly grew distressed of the same thing he had to do – everyday. He had very few friends – perhaps, almost nobody wanted to befriend with him. His soul was slaggardly and painfully messy like Icarus’ roasted body. He ran from the reality, was almost admitted to a mental asylum, lived in a world of secrecies, kept distance with his parents, did jobs assigned only to those who were illiterate, went broke, wrote articles under many pseudonyms, and died in 1944, at the age of 46.
But I am not going to telltale about William James Sidis. In case, I had ‘discovered’ another child prodigy – whose miserable, somber stories did bear some striking similarities with those of his own.
On the picture above, this girl’s name is Sufiah Yusof.
Born in 1984, in the United Kingdom, to a Pakistani man and a Malaysian woman. Not many details are known about her – she made national sensation in 1997 when she became the youngest person to be admitted to the prestigious St Hilda’s College, Oxford – an all-women college which has been known nationwide for ‘producing’ famous achievers, due to her unusual talents in Mathematics. She became a new hope, a big pride for her family, and her parents, especially.
Many thought that Sufiah Yusof could achieve global stardom in the future – maybe, getting the title of Time’s Person of the Year, which has been granted to many influential world leaders, or collecting Field’s Medal (the highest, most respected, and most prestigious prize awarded to any excellent mathematicians in America, and perhaps, in the world) – but the answer was an, alas, a big mistake. In 2001, she dropped out of the college. She was estranged by her parents, instead. She complained that her parents were merely exploiting her for popularity. Like what Sidis did, she hid in a world of secrecies. Two weeks afterwards, somebody found out she was working as a waitress in an Internet cafe. She preferred to stay in a foster family, indeed.
Not many details are known about the period within 2001 and 2003, but it is said that Sufiah Yusof again returned to the college two years after her ‘get-away’ epoch. She managed to complete her undergraduate master, but she failed to do so. Afterwards, she married a trainee lawyer who shared the same hometown with. But, the marriage ended up in a mess. The marriage lasted only 13 months, in a bitter-ending divorce. (unlucky number, isn’t it?)
Her name was unheard again for 5 years. From 2003 to 2008. In March 2008, a journalist again popularized her name. But it is not ‘popularized’, precisely. It is, more exactly, ‘notoriorized’ (or ‘notorized’? Please report to me if you find out any mistake). She had changed her name to Shilpa Lee. This time, she appeared in an adult-only website and was so vulgar. Even if you type her name in Google Images, you can find out her totally vivid body being posted in many search results, mismashing with the ‘better’ picture of herself above. Sorry to mention it because it is a bit pornographic, but what I find out is totally vulgar image of Shilpa Lee, with breasts (or ‘boobs’) vividly shown, uncensored. That mathematic genius, who once had a promising future, has ended up into a prostitute! I don’t need to exhibit her picture here, but you can try to prove it yourself (a better suggestion: you had better not try to access it, except you are already 17 years old, even if you dare to.) Many media reports eventually informed the whole world that she had been a ‘first-class’ prostitute, with fees amounting to 130 pounds for each ‘session’.
For how long she had been a hooker still remains a question. Her ‘body-selling’ career ended up in December 2008, when an Islamic organization decided to restore her back into the right path. Since then, she had thoroughly devoted her time to become a social worker, back in Malaysia. However, at that time, Sufiah was still unwilling to reunite with both her parents. Until now, it is not much known anymore about how Sufiah Yusof is. May she have a better future, despite her already contaminated background in the past.