Mirror Magazine
22nd April 2001
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Inspired to invent 

By Laila Nasry
Asiri Dilhan de Silva"We haven't changed the bulbs for almost two years," says Asiri Dilhan de Silva who must have had Thomas Alva Edison rolling in his grave. It took Edison a year to invent the light bulb, the 1,000 hour life span of which this 20-year-old has multiplied to 5,000 hours in just one week! The chandelier in their home being rather high was always a problem when it came to changing the bulbs. "So I thought I'd invent a bulb protector, something to avoid the constant hassle of replacing fused bulbs," Asiri adds grinning. 

An inventor 'by hobby' Asiri has around eight inventions to his credit. Having started out when he was 12 years old, his first couple of circuits and robot merely for school exhibitions later went on to more advanced inventions. 

"Most of my inventions are fulfilling a home need," he says explaining he was inspired by books on sound electronics, the Vidusara paper and a fascination for electronics. "The idea has to come into my mind, then I get down to it." Well ideas have a strange way of materialising for each invention comes with a story which inspired him to create. 

Laughing he tells me, "The nearby shop used to mix other oils to the coconut oil we used to buy. Though we knew this there was no way of proving it." So he set about inventing an electronic specific heat capacity counter which is able to gauge the purity of a liquid. 

I take a good minute to digest the name alone and then he points to a plastic box, stop watch contraption which had me further baffled. But he explains. A plastic box will hold the liquid while a small coil is inserted to heat it to 20c. The time it takes is timed by a stop watch which is applied to a simple formula and the answer is compared to the standard liquid capacity, thereby ascertaining whether some other substance has been added.

"In school we used to do experiments regarding liquid purity and even double periods were insufficent to get at the answers. We worked endless sums and still couldn't get even a 60% accurate answer." His invention on the other hand gives accurate information very quickly. 

This invention which costed him Rs. 1500 and was five months in its making has been well received. It prompted a lot of inquiries and offers at the Geneva Inventions Competition 2001 (Polexpo) held in Switzerland where he won a bronze for it. Recalling his memories of the competition he chuckles, "I was there with this small gadget while there were people from different countries from research and other institutes unloading their inventions from containers and assembling them." 

Winning awards is nothing new to this youngster, who has won the 1998 National Award,who in 1999 was placed first in the Youth Awards organised by the National Youth Council Maharagama, was Junior Inventor of the Year, won first place in a competition organised by the Sri Lanka Engineers Institution and third place in a competition organised by the National Invention Commission. 

A weird looking cassette with no tape to check the working of a radio amplifier, a highly productive fertilizer machine which makes compost in three days...Asiri's 'making life easy inventions' are sure to take him places.

Clothes line 

  • Shame those perverts
  • The narrow path is worth it
  • When a lady is at the wheel

  • Shame those perverts

    I'm so glad someone wrote to the papers about perverts in buses. 

    It's really disgusting and what's really sick is that even school uniforms don't stop these perverts. Yes, it happens to school girls too. SCHOOL GIRLS! I have had a few experiences myself so I know what I'm talking about. I get so angry when I hear of what happens in the bus. 

    One of my friends, a sixteen-year-old who's doing her O/Ls this year, was going home after school when some boys started touching her. Her brother, a fourteen-year-old, who was with her stepped forward and politely told them to stop harassing his sister. 

    He was beaten up while my friend watched helplessly. 

    But what really gets my blood boiling is the fact that nobody, NOBODY so much as lifted a finger to help them. They never stopped to think that that girl (my friend) could've been their sister, their friend, their mother or even themselves. They didn't help. 

    On that bus a fourteen-year-old proved to be a better man than anyone else. A REAL MAN! I wish there were more of them around. 

    What really puts me off is how people, especially other women look at you like you are a piece of rubbish when you are actually the innocent victim. 

    When things happen to you, remember it's not your fault and there is no reason to feel ashamed. If you do feel ashamed then you are letting the pervert win. 


    You have the right to stand up for yourself, the right to tell him to stop just as loud as you like. So go ahead and do it.

    If you keep quiet and let him violate you, you let him get away with one of the greatest crimes unpunished. Remember that because he wasn't punished he will do it again and his next victim may be younger and may not be as mentally strong as you. Remember that when he violates someone else it's partly your fault. 

    When you shame a pervert, he thinks twice before doing it again. So come on girls, let's make those perverts think twice. 



    The narrow path is worth it

    It is always easy to do what is wrong and foolish but rarely do people do what is right and wise. 

    Human beings are often engaged in conflicts with their conscience when deciding what is wrong and right. But most often, they are guided or they succumb to temptation and listen to what their 'heart' says. All this depends on the individual, because there are people who are very sensitive and emotional, and there are those who are tough, firm and stone-hearted as well. 

    In life, when we come up with a question or a problem, a moment when we have to bestow a sensible judgment (or make a choice), or give the best solution, we realize that it's not like answering questions at an exam where we have time to prepare for anticipated questions. Instead, in life sometimes we have to answer or make 'the' choice at that very moment whether we are prepared or not. 

    It is very easy to be self-abusive, to blame and curse someone or the other and to keep on living in an imaginary world. It is easy not to say your prayers, avoid engaging in mundane work, drink, gamble and do all the nasty things you never thought that you'd dare do. But rarely do people accept reality - however harsh it may be. Rarely do people have the strength, patience, courage and self-control to keep their head high and to bear others' comments - criticisms, condemnations and comparisons - with a smile, and share only the joys with your relatives (most of them are scandalmongers, mind you!!), but keep the sorrows to yourself. 

    What happened to all the discipline and strict training we underwent when we prepared for a drama competition or a cricket match while schooling? Not merely to entertain the audience or to win trophies I guess!! I don't think so. I strongly believe that they do not merely apply only to school activities and are to be left at school when we go out into the real world. Since they've helped us to develop our character and personality as true human beings, we should be more self-controlled and self-disciplined when we deal with life's victories and defeats. I strongly believe in the fact that real sophistication is a knowledge and acceptance of reality and the development of techniques to deal with it. 

    Life itself, is one big drama or a cricket match, and we, characters or players of it. But we should always live every moment of it to the fullest!! 

    Don't you think that it's really easy to go on the wrong track, because the road is clear - but you often cannot see the thick and cruel thorns hidden along the way until you reach your destination not really knowing where you are heading. It is very hard to go on the right track, because the road is full of holes. You have to fall down and rise up and deal with the conflicts that dominate your head and heart, to face countless obstacles to get to your destination without losing your perseverance and enthusiasm. 

    It is indeed a hard trial, but trust me, it's worth the effort you put in. 


    When a lady is at the wheel

    Feeling bold and adventurous after our A/L's, I together with two of my friends decided to go for driving lessons. It was one of those things which we had been planning for sometime which finally became a reality. So far all three of us have proceeded quite well, without once knocking down a lamp post or going into a drain!!!! 

    The crux of the matter however is quite contradictory to the above. I'm referring to the various attitudes and reactions of society to such situations. Many of the so-called "licensed drivers" seem to get a kick out of scaring learner drivers out of their wits. They seem to violate all the rules of the Highway Code just for a few laughs. Little do they realise that these "highway acrobatics" might result in a fatal accident. The climax of the situation is when a LADY is at the wheel!@#%. And this is what irritates me most. Believe me, there have been instances when vehicles just stop and everyone inside is staring as if they have never seen a lady drive. Even pedestrians have a hand in this whole affair by stopping and staring and calling out rude and unnecessary remarks. It's not just on the road that we experience this hostility, but also whenever we mention it among our male friends. Although they try to keep a straight face it's obvious that they are smirking inside.

    Personally I don't find this situation funny at all.We are living in the 21st century where men and women are thought to be on an equal footing.But sadly it has dawned on me that Sri-Lankan society is still hanging on to age- old conventions where males were thought to be superior and had the female wrapped around their little finger. Hence whenever a lady ventures out to learn something new, instead of encouraging and cheering her on they put on these tactics which will eventually result in a total loss of confidence. (I'm not being biased here, but on many an occasion this has been true.) 

    My experiences may be limited but nevertheless it is a violation of rights and it is sad and disappointing that our counterparts cannot accept this equality, instead of treating us as the weaker sex always. 

    Nevertheless my opinion is that we should defiantly venture into other extraordinery fields and prove ourselves. And teach a male chauvinists a lesson they would not forget!!!!! 

    Tara Senanayake

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