Process Engineer, Renewable Energy

May T, 2002, 5Sc1

As a process engineer in the renewable energy industry, I help senior engineers design and start-up new plants. Designing requires a lot of engineering knowledge and calculations that I learnt in university. If you are interested in becoming an engineer, you have to stick with physics, chemistry and add maths. In addition, I also troubleshoot processes to ensure production never stops. In the manufacturing industry, time is money. Production stop = Loss of profit!

In my previous job as a contract engineer (with the Malaysia Refinery Turnaround Project), I had a much broader job scope – imagine a cross between a lawyer, engineer and a quantity surveyor. My job duties could be divided into two parts

(1)    I had to do a lot of legal writing because I had to deal with contracts. It is important to ensure contracts are properly drafted, to ensure that both parties stand up to their part of the deal.

(2)    I was also involved in project finance control. Here, I dealt with costing and at times, functioned as a quantity surveyor.

This job was very dynamic and interesting. It required me to develop my people and management skills.


Click here to read about my journey.

My Journey

I am a stubborn-rebel-at-heart-nature lover, non-conformist, and a curious cat… I hated rules in school (including name tags) and was the most reluctant Girl Guide who hated marching. But I was the proud president of Kelab Pencinta Alam, under the wing of the enigmatic  Puan Molly Chew .

I got into the science stream (5Sc1) because it was the ‘natural’ thing to do. My post F5 plans were based loosely on inputs from family and teachers.  :?   I didn’t face a dilemma because of my limited exposure of the world. Plus I didn’t have special artistic talents of any kind.

I have always preferred Bio-related subjects over Physics… so I went to F6 Bio stream. Overseas or private universities were out of the question because my parents did not see the value in them and it would financially strain my family

I knew I loved Mother Nature but lacked conviction to follow my heart.
To further my studies in forestry etc.
seemed insane and unconventional.

So often, I hear threats like “get bad results and you will have to study forestry in the jungle”! It was also engrained in me that I should study hard and do “brainy subjects” like Engineering or medicine or law.

I remember meticulously putting down Universiti Malaysia Sabah as my first choice in the UPU form after finding out from seniors that unlike many local uni’s, UMS conducted courses in English and not Malay!  :grin:   Double Joy! I was broiling with curiosity for the richness of Borneo Island. Miss Rebel figured she needed to do this for herself; Chemical Engineering in Sabah would satisfy both what was expected of her, and herself.

Next Generation Project - UMS

UMS is amazing. I dived on weekends and hiked the highest peak in Borneo over the semester break.  It is a beautiful land of sea, sun and love. I spent more time doing work in SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), meeting people and learning about life than studying for exams. Through SIFE, we held Empowerment Workshops with locals in rural areas who are still living below the poverty level.

At UMS, I also met some of the most admirable nature lovers in professions like scientists, underwater photographers, UNESCO, WWF volunteers etc. If you love nature, open your options to courses like environmental science or marine science.

Borneo Marine Research Inst.

Sabah has some of the best marine and forest reserves in the world! You will be humbled in awe!

Not forgetting wonderful lecturers here who have imparted much wisdom and guidance throughout my 4 years in Uni.

I quit my first job in the oil and gas industry
because I could not find fulfillment in that job.

The oil and gas industry is dangerous, tank explosions occurred every once in a while and I was greeted by sandstorms as I entered my work cabin. Sulfur gas leaks turned the sky yellow and thousands of sweaty skinny tanned foreign workers endured hard physical work, trying to make a living. Over time, I got sick more frequently and I realized I had to call it quits. I am now in my 2nd job, building process plants in renewable energies and edible oils.  :)

Whatever it is my fellow AMCians, make the best of what you have and don’t worry too much about the future because you’ll never know what destiny has in store for you. Do take time to find out more about the world, humanity, attain a higher level of consciousness and nurture compassion. Learn about our interconnectedness to each other, to Mother Nature and the universe. I wish you joy, happiness and wisdom in any decisions you are going to make in near future.

Great things are not done by impulse,
but by a series of small things brought together.


and Peace

May T




  1. I read about your career journey from AMC to a 4-years course in UMS.I am amazed by your active extracurricular activities in UMS.During the four years you seem to enjoy yourself,doing a lot of field-work,diving and mountain-climbing and eventually worked in the oil and gas industry which you didn’t like and eventually quit.Now you are a process engineer, doing a different kind of work from the first job.Are you enjoy yourself now?What are your future plans?Are there any prospects in studying renewable engineering?Is it difficult to get a job in this field?

  2. Hi Yonie, I’m currently doing process design but I got headhunted and went back to the oil and gas industry. In the local market, the oil and gas industry is booming. When you ask me about how difficult it is to get a job, it all boils down to the supply and demand created by the power play of the major oil companies. I can’t give you a definite yes or no to many questions you might have, all I can tell you is to follow up on what is happening in the world and see how you can create value in a bigger picture. This way, you will do no wrong. If you have a dream, go ahead and see it to fruition. Renewable energy is a certainty but how long it will take to be the next big thing is not something I can be sure of. There are more opportunities in this field though in the European Regions especially Germany. Wind energy and solar energy is very promising on a large scale. My future plans is to be really good at what I do. With a strong technical foundation, hopefully I can do better things in future to add value to humanity. And yes I love my life now. Hope you do too!

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