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A Significant Role to Play

Hong Wai Onn
Hong Wai Onn Author Interview

A Chemical Engineer in the Palm Oil Milling Industry helps readers discover the opportunities chemical engineers have in the palm oil industry. Why was this an important book for you to write?

Edible oils are big business. Especially palm oil. Palm oil has been widely used in food and non-food industries. More than half the products on sale in supermarkets are made with palm oil—yet many people hardly know anything about this industry. They don’t even know chemical engineers have a significant role to play in this industry. Hence, I am motivated to write a book to provide a series of episodes for readers to discover the opportunities chemical engineers have in the palm oil milling industry. I hope this non-fiction memoir book could bring readers closer to the most enigmatic profession of all time. The book is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Kobo and other major retailers.

This book sheds light on an enigmatic profession. What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

I would love the readers to feel that they have been presented at a talk given by an expert who knows his topic. Everyone after reading “A Chemical Engineer in the Palm Oil Milling Industry” should feel that they came away with insights not only about what made a good chemical engineer easily transferred into the palm oil milling industry but also how widespread palm oil is in everyday life.

You have 15 years of operational experience in the palm oil industry. How has your experience helped you write this book?

When I got involved in the Institution of Chemical Engineers, I often found myself drawing upon my experiences at one of the country’s leading oil palm plantation companies. I learned that many of the experiences and knowledge I gained are lessons from which any chemical engineer could benefit from. Through my speaking engagements, I realize that there was tremendous interest in the society in gaining a better understanding of the inner workings of this profession. That is how my first nonfiction memoir, “A Chemical Engineer in the Palm Oil Milling Industry” came about in my late thirties. As I wrote this book based upon my expertise and experience, I didn’t have to rely heavily on research or on knowledge that comes from others. My writing flowed more smoothly when I was not struggling to interpret data, interviews, or to make my story realistic. When my book stemmed from my knowledge and experience, I felt more passionate about what I write, which showed in my finished work. As a result, I produced episodes that read well.

What is one thing that surprises most people about palm oil?

Interesting question. While there are many fun facts about palm oil, these are by far my favorite: Palm oil is an incredibly efficient crop, producing more oil per land area than any other vegetable oil crop, and is the most commonly produced vegetable oil in the world. Palm oil has been widely used in food and non-food industries. It can be found in a wide range of products in a typical grocery store, including shampoo, toothpaste, candles, baked goods, lipstick, processed foods, and even as a component of plastic produce bags that helps them to open more easily.

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HERE IS THE FIRST BOOK THAT HAS COME OUT WITH STORIES FROM THE PALM OIL MILLS.

Palm oil is a big business. Palm oil has been widely used in food and non-food industries. More than half the products on sale in supermarkets are made with palm oil—yet many people hardly know anything about this industry. They don’t even know chemical engineers have a significant role to play in this industry. This book provides a series of episodes for you to discover the opportunities chemical engineers have in the palm oil milling industry. This book is an illuminating memoir that brings readers closer to the most enigmatic profession of all time.
It is a promise that Hong Wai Onn has fulfilled again and again. More people have gained a better understanding of the role of chemical engineers in the palm oil milling industry by listening to his sharing. You do not have to be a chemical engineer or work in this industry to enjoy his memoir. The insights are just as valuable for any discipline of engineering, and for any business, for the sake of inspiration.

A Chemical Engineer in the Palm Oil Milling Industry

A Chemical Engineer in the Palm Oil Milling Industry by [Hong Wai Onn]

Palm oil is used in so many ways from cooking to cosmetics to fuel. Very few ever think about the process of getting oil refined enough to apply in some of the uses. This book is about the role of a chemical engineer in the process of milling palm oil.  It is about the team work and passion that goes into milling palm oil. By the end of this book, you will know more about palm oil and the milling process. You will also get a literary tour of a mill as well as vicariously experience the dynamics of a palm oil mill.

One thing that is well appreciated in this book is the detail and expertise with which it is written. It feels like a school field trip one might actually enjoy. There is so much intriguing detail and information. With all of that the book still manages to be engaging and interesting even to a person whose only knowledge of palm oil extends to the temperature it needs to be before frying something. Palm oil milling and the chemical engineering involved might be something you never think of Googling. In fact, it might sound like something straight out of a National Geographic special but this book sure is an enjoyable read.

The author has achieved a delicate balance of casual and professional. Providing the reader with stories of their experiences which personifies the book and gets the reader to not only connect with the writer but also remain rooted in their seat throughout the book. It reads a little bit like The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt. Narration of a tale with a very important purpose. This style is well appreciated especially for this subject.

This book may be about chemical engineers in palm oil milling but a lot of it could really apply elsewhere. For example, the writer talks about teamwork, passion and importance of caring for the environment. These sentiments could carry to many other areas of life.

The writer uses very simple language. You do not feel as though you have to constantly consult chemical engineering books and the palm oil Wikipedia page. Once you have started, you feel yourself relaxing and settling into it. The writer’s passion is evident through his writing. You can feel that he enjoyed writing this book.

This book will educate you, and might inspire you to change careers or give an aspiring chemical engineer some direction and a sort of literary internship. It is quite the task to write a book about such a highly scientific subject while keeping it simple and relevant to anyone and everyone who comes across it.

Pages: 216 | ASIN: B08CGVT4W5

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