Xinyao lyricist Jo Heng, who wrote lyrics for singers like Jacky Cheung and Eric Moo, dies at 59

Singapore lyricist Jo Heng suffered from lymphoma and died yesterday morning.
Singapore lyricist Jo Heng suffered from lymphoma and died yesterday morning.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

Jo Heng, an award-winning Singapore lyricist known for penning the lyrics to hits such as singer Eric Moo's You Are My Only One, has died at the age of 59.

Reports say she had suffered from lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, and died yesterday morning.

Heng, who is also known as Xing Zenghua, wrote the lyrics to Hong Kong Heavenly King Jacky Cheung's 1995 song A Thousand Sad Reasons, which won the Top Local Chinese Song at the third Composers and Authors Society of Singapore (Compass) awards in 1997.

In addition, she wrote the lyrics to Hong Kong singer Andy Lau's The Path Winds Through High Peaks, which was released in 1994.

She had studied in Bukit Panjang Government High School and Thomson Secondary School and was good at Chinese composition.

She read novels by Chinese writer Lu Xun, liked the works of Taiwanese writer San Mao and listened to the songs of Taiwanese singers Feng Fei -Fei and Lo Ta-yu.

After graduating from Thomson Secondary School, Heng took on a few odd jobs until she joined Xin He Magazine. She also knew former radio deejay Pang Siew Moi, who was supportive of local music.

Through Pang, Heng got to know xinyao pioneers such as Moo and local composer and music producer Billy Koh, who were also active in the music scene.

After her death, Moo, 56, was quoted in a U-Weekly article as saying: "I learnt about her illness four days ago and had planned to visit her when I return to Singapore in a few days. Little did I know..."


Yesterday, 96.3 Hao FM senior producer-presenter Tan Li Yi ran a tribute to Heng on air, playing some of her songs and replaying a 2018 interview with the lyricist.

Singapore musician Liang Wern Fook also paid tribute to Heng on Facebook, with a three-sentence poem that quoted the first two lines which she had penned for You Are My Only One and ended with the phrase, "you are the only one".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2020, with the headline 'She wrote lyrics for Jacky Cheung and Andy Lau'. Subscribe