Cheng Kok-kong was born in Hong Kong in 1941, graduated from the Grantham College of Education in 1965, and studied in the School of Communication in Hong Kong Baptist College between 1968 and 1971. Since the 1970s, he has been writing over 2,000 Cantopop songs and a lot of them became well-known classics. With various best lyrics along the years, Cheng Kok-kong received numerous awards and honours for his Cantopop and children’s song lyrics especially in the 80s and 90s. Cheng Kok-kong was respectfully honored as one of the three early Cantopop giant lyricists with James Wong Jim and Jimmy Lo Kwok-jim. While writing lyrics under several pseudonyms for local record labels, government sectors, non-profit organisations, and media, he is commonly addressed as “Sir Cheng” or “Teacher Cheng” because of his identity as a primary school teacher.
Cheng Kok-kong’s lyrics covered a wide range of message including subjects and stories for children, romantic love, inspirational, religious and nationalistic. Many of his works had been awarded and became classics, and enabled local artists to gain popularity, for example Just Love You (sung and composed by Danny Chan Pak-keung) obtained the 6th RTHK Top 10 Gold Songs Awards in 1984, and Encounters (sung by Samantha Lam Chi-mei) obtained TVB Top 10 Gold Songs Awards in 1984 and the 4th Hong Kong Film Award - Best Film Song.
While romantic love songs were dominating in the local popular music industry in the 70s to 90s, Cheng Kok-kong put extra efforts on writing children's and inspirational songs. Cheng Kok-kong’s children songs have been broadcasting along with local TV shows for children, such as Hopscotch, Little Theatre, 430 Shuttle, Lightning Fax Machine, etc. The government and non-profit organizations have also invited him to write lyrics with inspirational message, such as Putting Full Effort for a Bright Future (1982), A Fruitful Life (1986), A Little Candlelight (1981), etc.
Cheng Kok-kong is a prolific yet amateur lyricist. He taught English, Mathematics, and Fine Arts at Ng Wah Catholic Primary School (pm session) between 1965 and 1996. He was appointed as the Artist-in-Residence of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2017/18, and conducted various lyric writing workshops for the general public. He also participated in the publication project of music textbooks in 1991, wrote a book “Life of Lyrics and Paintings” published in 2013, and co-published a children’s song book (2012) with Chan Wing-wah. His paintings and calligraphies were exhibited at Shatin Town Hall in 1996, the Life of Lyrics and Paintings exhibition in 2013, HK Times Square in 2016 and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2018.
Cheng Kok-kong’s lyrical works facilitated Cantopop’s golden era in the 70s to 90s. At the same time, it also enhanced the wide dissemination of his lyrical works. His contribution to the Cantopop development is widely recognized by his honours and awards received, including the RTHK Golden Needle Award in 1992, CASH Music Achievement Award in 2002, Outstanding Lyrics Award by Hong Kong Federation of Drama Societies in 2008, the Award for Outstanding Contribution in Arts by Hong Kong Arts Development Council in 2016, and honorary fellowships conferred by different tertiary institutions in Hong Kong.