Origin X Library Book Reviews: No Time, We’re Booked

To everyone who is trying to find books to read after promos/A levels, this article is just for you! This article is a collaboration between EJC Press and the Media Resource Library Club.

Designed by: Jo Yeoul (19-A2)



Mistborn: The Final Empire

Author: Brandon Sanderson


Written by Members of the Media Resource Library Club

Edited by Lee Keng Yan (19-U1)


What if the ‘Chosen One’ fails to defeat the evil overlord? The answer can be found in the Final Empire – the first in a saga of surprises and suspense. 


The story centres on Vin, a street urchin trying to survive in the capital city Luthadel. She (somewhat reluctantly) joins a crew that eventually kindles the flames of rebellion. They appear determined to take down and topple the thousand-year empire, ending the Lord Ruler’s oppressive rule. Although it might look like your typical fantasy dystopian universe featuring a teenage hero, trust me, nothing is as it seems with Mistborn.  


One of the main reasons why Sanderson is such an incredible writer is his worldbuilding. Unlike ‘soft magic’ systems (think Harry Potter-style spellcasting), the Mistborn magic system of allomancy is crafted in his signature ‘hard magic’ style – specific rules and limitations of the magic, why certain characters are more powerful than others, how the system fits into the world as a whole, etc. It’s written as less magic and more science. 


There are also fantastic developments of in-world religions, social systems, and geography. 


However, there are some noticeable areas for improvement. Vin is one of the very few female characters we encounter. There isn’t as much diversity as would be ideal. But don’t lose hope – this was one of Sanderson’s first few books, and he’s improved these areas with each subsequent ones. (For more women, racially diverse characters, and protagonists with mental illnesses check out his other series The Stormlight Archive.)


My favourite character is almost certainly Vin, but her mentor-slash-father-figure Kelsier comes a close second. Kelsier sees the world in black and white, but his morality is unquestionably grey. In any other novel, he would be a villain. It just so happens that the Final Empire needs a hero like him. 


TL;DR: Fantastic worldbuilding, likeable characters, and a great plot. Oh, and the humour is decent as well. Enjoy Mistborn – and remember, there’s always another secret. 


A Series of Unfortunate Events

Written by Members of the Media Resource Library Club

Edited by Lee En Tong (19-U2)


A Series of Unfortunate Events(ASOUE) is a well-known series of children’s classic books written by Daniel Handler under the pseudonym of Lemony Snicket. It follows the calamitous lives of the three extremely unfortunate Baudelaire orphans, Violet, who is a remarkable inventor, Klaus, an intelligent bibliophile, and Sunny, who has a knack for biting. 


Following the grisly deaths of their parents who perished in a horrible fire, they are placed under the care of Count Olaf, their (supposed) third cousin, four times removed. However, the Baudelaire orphans soon find themselves running for their lives from the scheming ways of Count Olaf, who plots wicked schemes to inherit the Baudelaires’ enormous fortune for himself. Besides fleeing from Count Olaf, the Baudelaires would also need to use their wits to escape from the misfortunes that befall them as they traverse the almost dystopian world that they live in.


While it is categorised as a ‘children’s book series’, ASOUE dives into much more mature themes. It alludes to many disturbing concepts throughout the adventures of the Baudelaire siblings. As the author warns us in every book of the series, the story of the Baudelaires is not a happy one. It does not have a happy beginning or a happy ending, and the number of happy moments within its pages are scarce. Being an unorthodox contemporary children’s literary series, dark themes are not divorced from ASOUE as abuse, torture, death and even murder form the backbone of the series, thus contributing to an incredibly bleak and hopeless atmosphere in the books. 


The strong narrative voice that accompanies the reader in every flip of a page serves to reinforce the hopelessness and tragedy of the Baudelaires’ misfortunes. The sarcastic, mocking, and cynical manner in which the narrator comments on the events in the book makes it a thought-provoking read even for teenagers and young adults. Its desolate tone constantly impresses upon readers the unhappy and unfortunate trajectory of the story, as if encouraging a defiant optimism in readers as the Baudelaires continue to defy death and overcome the many misfortunes life throws at them time after time. 


Book review – “Everything I Never Told You”

Author: Celeste Ng

Reviewed by: Su Min

“At least I don’t let other people tell me what I want. At least I know who I am. What I want. What about you, Miss Lee? What do you want?” ~ Jack Wolff

While searching online for book recommendations, I chanced upon Celeste Ng’s “Everything I never told” and decided to borrow it from the library. The book revolves around the past and present lives of a mixed-race Chinese-American family and their struggles, as they deal with the death of Lydia, their middle child.

This novel is one which I had enjoyed thoroughly. It explores social issues such as racism and sexism (and homosexuality, although it does not play as big a part as the other issues) as some of the issues plaguing the various characters’ sense of identity. At the heart of the novel, Ng discusses the issue of identity. The importance of knowing who you are, what you are, and what you want. All the characters in the novel share this common struggle, as they attempt to find themselves and be someone they can truly love. James, a Chinese man, longed to fit in in the sea of Americans since he was six, while Marilyn, an American woman, longed to be the one to stand out in a male-dominated society. Through their marital relationship, Ng also discusses the struggles faced by mixed-race couples and the clash in differences in their beliefs, as they try to comprehend but unintentionally hurt each other. She helps us understand this by writing different chapters in the different characters’ points of view, toggling between their past experiences and their present lives. I didn’t find this constant switch irritating (like some books I have read before), but it allowed me to empathise more strongly with the characters’ struggles, hopes and dreams, which touched and moved me.

One of the striking things about this novel for me, is how it had hit home with me. In the novel, James and Marilyn have three children: Nath (the eldest), Lydia (the middle child) and Hannah (the youngest). Both Nath and Lydia are, to James and Marilyn, their second chance in life. Everything they dreamed and aspired towards in their youth but failed to achieve, had been translated into expectations and hopes  pinned onto Nath and Lydia, with Hannah mostly being forgotten about. I felt this resonated strongly with me, the way my own parents’ expectations of me had always hovered above my head, the way I tried to meet them, the way I often couldn’t. I think that Ng had described this relationship beautifully and sincerely, in a way that she articulates not just the struggles of Nath and Lydia, but also the unspoken dreams of James and Marilyn. While the novel doesn’t have a completely ‘happy’ ending, it hints at the idea of hope for the future and redemption for the disarrayed family, with young Hannah being James and Marilyn’s second chance at being parents.

“Everything I never told you” has been a journey of enlightenment, not just for the characters, but for me as well. It continues to provoke and disturb me, and even after finishing the book, I still go back to it and wonder “What if… had happened?”

Museum Reviews

Bored at home? Tired of doing the same old thing during the holidays? Well, then maybe we’ve got a new hobby guide lined up just for you: why not try your hand at museum hopping?


Over the holidays we have been taste-testing the various museums across Singapore in search of something interesting to fill the days of our holiday week. Here are some of the museums we’ve visited and our take on it.


(Note: all the museums profiled are free for students; just flash your IC or EZ-link card and the receptionist will give your a sticker for which gives you access to all the exhibits in the following museums!)


Asian Civilisation Museum (5 minute walk from Raffles Place MRT Station (Exit H))

Approx. time required: 1.5 – 2 hours

The new exhibit at the Tang Shipwreck Gallery really captured our attention and scrutinizing all the ancient kitchenware was beyond fascinating. The other exhibits in ACM include the Ancient Religions gallery, Chinese Scholar gallery, China and India gallery, and many more. The ACM is a must-see museum to learn more about your culture and to understand where your ancestors came from as well as to appreciate the heritage of other cultures in Singapore.


Singapore Art Museum (Across the road from Bras Basah MRT Station)

The main museum is closed for renovation. But the 8Q museum just across the road is open for viewing!

Approx. time required: 0.5 – 1 hour

The President’s Young Talent exhibit is up and exhibiting amazing works of art by 5 different artists who have undergone mentoring. Each artist has their own gallery and have made full use of the space provided to tell their individual stories. One artist has a gallery on different materials, another about soil work, yet another about scars, another about surfaces, and the last, about our world. Each gallery is unique in its own way and it is strongly recommended that you visit the 8Q SAM to experience the exhibit on your own!


National Museum Singapore (10-15 minute walk from SAM)

Approx. time required: > 2 hours

Other than the essentials of the National Museum of Singapore, such as the History of Singapore, Japanese War and Singapore’s rise to Independence, there were other appealing exhibits such as the Polaroid exhibit, Story of the Forest and Magic and Menace. The Polaroid exhibit was eye-opening as we got to learn about how a polaroid comes about, and got a look at the many aesthetic polaroids the museum has to offer. Moreover, when we entered on of the interactive exhibits, all we saw was a white screen. We knew that there was a video playing as we could hear the sound, but we could not see the video. However, one we put on the pair of glasses, the video came to life. The screen was no longer white, but filled with colour. It was fascinating! Story of the Forest was a breathtaking exhibit and the computer graphics were nothing short of unbelievable, so all graphics fans should really take this opportunity to get a peek. The National Museum of Singapore was one that left us in awe and it was a spectacular museum.


Peranakan Museum (10 minute walk from City Hall MRT station)

(Quite far from the MRT station and with the heavy construction around the museum, it took us even longer to find it)

Approx. time required: 1.5 – 2 hours

It was not a big museum, but it was definitely unique in its own ways. (However, i would strongly recommend going in a group of 4 or more as this museum is slightly creepy due to the emptiness of the museum) This was a 3 storey museum and each level of the museum told its own story about the Peranakans in Singapore. The first level gave a brief introduction on the how the Peranakans came to Singapore. The second level was about traditional Peranakan marriage. There were big layouts of how a typical couple room looked like which really aided our understanding of the  way a traditional Peranakan house looked. The third level included exhibits on the traditional Peranakan food, kitchenware, religion as well as their notion of death (which did get quite scary). In addition, the new exhibit, Amek Gambar, told the story of Peranakans and Photography and displayed the timeline from black and white films to coloured photos. All in all, this museum was overwhelming and it really connected with my 5 senses. On a side note, there were a lot of gold in the museum, so bling bling, keep your eyes peeled!


We hope you will have fun visiting these museums and learn a thing or two about the different cultures and heritage of various Singaporeans and the history behind what makes Singapore such a diverse but flourishing country today!


30 Second Reviews – Serenade with violinist So Young Yoon

Known for her momentous performance during the Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition when she tackled two insanely challenging Violin concertos (Sibelius D Minor and Wieniawski F# Minor) in a single night, Korean-born Violinist So Young Yoon dazzled Singaporeans with her performance of Bernstein’s Serenade. Together with the Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Yoon began the first movement with much sensitivity. She brought out the tenderness of the melody through carefully calibrated bow handling. The second, third and fourth movements were executed with perfect intonation and technical expertise. It was the fifth movement, perhaps the most well known to the trained classical musician, that brought the house down. When the Timpani’s death knell resounded with a crash, Yoon raced with the orchestra with fire in her eyes. With a swish of her bow across the string, the movement was brought to a climatic end.

As shouts of ‘Bravo!” erupted from the audience, I could not help but marvel at her effortless performance and wonder about the hours she had put into her practice.

What stops Yoon from achieving the same success as other acclaimed violinists like Sarah Chang, Janine Jansen puzzles me. Perhaps it is a matter of time and luck? 

Picture credit: Official Henryk Wieniawski Competition site

Grace Marie Yeh

30 Second Reviews – Band Fiesta

Beginning this segment of 30s Reviews…

A mundane evening in the botanical gardens was transformed by a resounding performance by the EJC symphonic band. Within the span of 2 hours, park-goers basking on the lawn by the Shaw Symphony stage, were treated to classic pop hits like Ed Sheeran’s Shape of You and a medley of Taylor Swift classics from her 1989 album. Conducted by the experienced maestro Adrian Chiang, the band, although consisting of many first-timers, pulled off an undeniably mesmerising performance. From the jovial upbeat pace of Shape of You, the groovy beat of Despacito, to the seamless transitions between Blank Space and Shake It Off, the performance was worthy of a standing ovation. Although marred by technical inadequacies of the speakers, the evening was a pleasant end to a hectic week.

Grace Marie Yeh


¿?sick beats?¿

A list of new songs that you might not have heard before, recommended by our very own Eunoians!

Tired of hearing the same old songs over and over again? Here are some selected tunes as recommended by Eunoians! Each week, we publish 8 of our favourite submissions under our monthly playlist. Want to suggest a song? Click here! Thank you to everyone who have submitted a song suggestion, and be sure to hit us up if you want to see your songs on next month’s playlist!


  1. Billie Eilish, Khalid – Lovely
    Genre: Alternative, Indie
    A dose of them feels, calming, ghostly, somewhat floaty, a really nice harmony of two voices. 11/10. (Suggested by Andrea)
  2. Pink Floyd – Shine On You Crazy Diamond
    Genre: Rock
    Good for studying, chill. For one, it’s 13 minutes long, nothing happens for the first minute or so, but overall, flowy; chill indeed. 9/10. (Suggested by Shi Yu, 18-U4)
  3. Calum Scott – What I Miss Most
    Genre: Pop
    Mood Booster. Soft start that builds up, peaceful voice, good drum beats that hypes you up. 10/10. (Suggested by Zi Lun, 18-E3)
  4. Rex Orange County – Sunflower
    Genre: Indie Pop
    A dose of them feels, slightly jazzy, feels like summer, oddly does sound like sunflowers and warm weather. 10/10. (Suggested by Andrea)
  5. CHEN X Punch – Everytime
    Genre: OST
    Gentle piano notes accompanied with vocals. Mood Booster. 9/10. (Suggested by Andrea)
  6. KATIE – Remember
    Genre: R&B, Soul
    Husky vocals, kind of EDM. Beat drops during chorus, overall pretty good. 9/10. (Suggested by Andrea)
  7. ClariS – Irony
    Genre: JPop
    Mood booster, electronic sounds, energetic! (Suggested by Yan Peng)

Bonus personal recommendation:

Kodaline – Worth It
Genre: Indie Pop
A nice gentle blend of vocals and guitar sounds. Motivational, feel goodTM song. 10/10.

Chinese Orchestra Concert Review

A member of Press attended the EJC Chinese Orchestra concert on the 13th of May, see what she has to say about it!

“Overall, I personally found the experience to be really fun! My section mates were pretty new to this instrument (Erhu) but I could teach them as I had experience. We had to synchronise our whole performance so that the music produce would not sound disjointed and we also had to take note of the dynamics, Crescendo etc. Just like our theme – ardour, the journey was very arduous as we are a new CCA.”

~Phang Kang Qu, a member of Chinese Orchestra~


On the 13th of May, EJ Chinese Orchestra put up an amazing performance entitled Ardour at the Esplanade Recital Studio, conducted by Mr Chin Yen Choong.


Opening with a familiar pop song – the impossibly catchy Havana by Camila Cabello – they started the night off on a roll by revamping its swinging, saucy jazz upbeat with the refreshing lilt of the traditional Chinese musical instrument, the 弹拨, making way for a very interesting new sound. This was followed up by the playing of Subaru on the 拉弦(laxian), a piece known for its soothing melody and simplicity, a beloved favourite of the laxian section themselves that bonded together over practicing to its sweet strains, and then, rounding off, 云裳诉, or, Robe of Clouds, as composed by Zhou Yi Guo was played by the Guzheng concerto. On the Guzheng was Pauline Lee Lin Jing, and with Phoenix Gay on the piano, a feeling of grandeur permeated the studio. The orchestra had to practice this particular song many times under the guidance of their conductor to ensure perfect synchrony. It was definitely a pretty difficult piece, but they managed to perform it flawlessly and seemingly without effort!


After the intermission, Sydney Lai Mu-En, Ang Jiayi and Pauline Lee Lin Jing performed a Guzheng piece entitled 蝶, meaning Butterfly – a Japanese Koto piece composed by Migawa. It required a lot of co-ordination and unity to be able to synchronize the piece and play it with such emotion and skill. 马兰恋歌, the Love Song of Malan, a Taiwanese aboriginal folk song of the Ah Mei tribe, was played as well, with the 吹管 (chuiguan) and 打击乐(dajile) – percussion instruments. This was a celebratory song to bring the mood up once more.


Following that, the next two songs performed were dedicated to the mothers of the orchestra: 鲁冰花, Dull-ice Flower, the theme song of a 1989 Taiwanese film, where its purpose is to express their love for all mothers; and 听妈妈的话,Listen to Mother, composed by Jay Choi in 2006, in which Teng Xin Yi put her passion into an impressive rap that won over both the hype and support of her fellow orchestra members, as well as the audience. Played with absolute fervour and dedication, one could see from how deeply every musician was immersed in the music and the affection they wished to convey to their mothers. They played the piece with absolute fervour and their immersion into the song really conveyed their affection for their mothers. Towards the end of the latter piece, all the members also came together to sing an acapella version of the song. This was, as one can tell, CO’s very own unique way to celebrate this Mother’s Day by expressing their heartfelt gratitude for their mothers.


The last song was a SYF set piece in 2017 for Secondary schools. 焰火(Flame) was inspired by Tang Dyansty poet Bai Juyi. This piece was played by the entire orchestra and reflects the ups and downs of life and represents the lives of youths and how the flame burning in all of us will flicker at times, but ultimately burns strong. Lastly, The Typewriter, was an encore piece performed with a few members of the orchestra with a bell and a typewriter as the solo instrument. Who knew a typewriter could be an instrument too? It was an interesting finale piece where the orchestra was synchronised with rhythmic typing on the typewriter. The upbeat and quick tune drives home the essence of the working day and at the end of the piece, the typer snatched the paper out of the typewriter and exits the stage, leaving the audience in hysterics and the sudden drawback to the reality of the situation.


When asked about how the audience felt about the performance, Tran Nguyen Anh Thu from 18-I4 said, “The harmonies were brilliant and all the different section could blend with one another to produce soothing music.” Megan Ong from 17-I2 also mentioned, “The members were all so in-sync, and complemented each other beautifully to play such moving, emotion-invoking melodies. You can really see how much time and effort they devoted into practicing to present a marvellous performance.”


Overall, both the audience and the performers thoroughly enjoyed themselves and the afternoon ended with the audience scurrying around the Esplanade trying to spot their Chinese Orchestra friends to take pictures and to give them flowers.


台上一分钟,台下十年功. EJCO has truly shown the amount of efforts that has gone in to putting up the performance flawlessly which allowed this concert to be a success!