Khoo Fuk-lung's childhood was an unhappy one. 'Once I was sitting on the floor in between my father and mother. They were fighting and a turnip flew over my head. I just can't erase it from my memory,' recalls the comic artist, who now has an eight-year-old daughter. Khoo didn't have a perfect childhood by any standards. When he was 11 his father, a violent man capable of threatening his wife with a knife, left home and they didn't meet again until about 20 years later. 'He suddenly showed up at my office. He had a new family by then, but I was not angry with him. It had been a long time and, after all, he was my dad. All I could do was accept what had happened.' He's determined that his daughter's childhood would be different. 'I had nothing as a child. I picked up old toys from the streets, and my parents didn't let me hang out with other children. That's why I started drawing. I remember standing on the balcony and watching the other children play.' He now spends more than $10,000 per month on toys for himself and his daughter and they are randomly scattered around his desk and the floor of his office. He once received a toy from his mother for coming fifth in class. But when he returned home his parents had a big fight because his father thought the gift a waste of money. 'I smashed the toy the following morning. But it was painful because I never had any.' Because of his unhappy childhood, Khoo says he can't resist showering his daughter with gifts and love. 'She doesn't know what happiness is because she has too much,' he says. 'We had nothing when we were kids, and it's a big difference between having nothing and having something that makes you happy. 'If she asks for a toy, I can't refuse because she looks just like me when I was her age. Perhaps I'm compensating my own loss through my daughter.' Khoo never hits his daughter. 'I don't think physical punishment works. How can you learn when someone is threatening you? I know that from my own experience: I remember kneeling in front of my dad, who had a cane in hand, and trying to memorise some schoolwork. Of course I couldn't memorise anything.' He has only punished his daughter once, when she tried to put her fingers into an electric socket. 'That could have killed her so I had to make sure she got a strong impression that it was wrong.' Khoo says he is a pessimist, but it doesn't show in his artwork. In his popular comic column he tries to share his personal life with his readers in a humorous fashion. 'Sometimes I think life is a joke. It's not a bad idea to occasionally ridicule yourself so that you and other people can have some fun.' He is happy that his daughter is enjoying a better upbringing than he had. 'She's a happy, optimistic child who is always laughing. I'm the exact opposite. I see everything in a negative light, thinking that there are more bad guys than good ones in the world and that life is more sad than happy. Thanks to my daughter, I now have a more balanced attitude.'