Next Thursday will mark the first anniversary of the death of comedienne Lydia 'Fei Fei' Sum Tin-ha, but her daughter Joyce Cheng Yan-yee is still struggling to cope with the loss. 'I remember mum always called me sum gon [sweetheart]. We had this secret code - she would say 'sum', and I would say 'gon'. But I won't hear that from her any more,' Cheng said. Also known as 'Happy Fruit', Shum was one of Hong Kong's most popular entertainers, with a career going back almost five decades to her days as a child star. Shum died of liver cancer last year at the age of 62. 'The other day, I found mum's pillowcase and I thought, oh my God, it still has mum's scent,' Cheng said. She missed that smell and tried to preserve it. 'I really wanted to seal in mum's scent. She had this very special fragrance that surrounded her,' she said. 'I sealed the pillowcase in a sandwich bag, but it didn't really work. By the third or fourth time I took it out, it didn't smell like mum any more, but I still keep it.' She said her mother's 'cushiony chest' was something she missed a lot about her. 'When I was sick, she would let me rest my head on her breast, which was very comfortable. No one could give a better hug than mum.' Last year was a rough one for Cheng, who lost two of her dearest family members - her grandmother and mother, who raised Cheng by herself after divorcing actor Adam Cheng Siu-chow, when Cheng was only eight months old. Now 21, Cheng has already learned some painful lessons. At a press conference held one day after her mother's death last year, she tearfully said: 'I will be good. I will try to learn to be a responsible woman.' A year later and she remembers that promise. 'My mum was really struggling in her last year but she hung on so she could be with me longer,' she said. 'The one thing she couldn't let go of was me. I wanted her to know that I could do this on my own and told her to let go of everything and just rest in peace, which she deserved.' Cheng saw her mother's passing as an opportunity to grow, but others are more interested in the millions she inherited. 'I don't mind people comparing me with Paris Hilton, but even though I've been handed things it doesn't mean I will be able to keep them. I still need to hold on to them tightly, otherwise they could easily slip away.' Learning to be independent has not been easy for Cheng. To manage on the salary she earns from her role in the television sitcom Off Pedder and other shows, Cheng sent away her mother's long-time housekeeper and chauffeur and opted to hire a cleaning lady instead. Filming the sitcom can take up every day of the week. Cheng said staying busy was the best way to keep from grieving for her mother. 'I feel very safe when I am in the studio ... but when I get home, I start thinking about things. I still find myself crying my eyes out. 'Her death hasn't fully hit me yet. It feels as if I've gone away to school or that mum is away somewhere, maybe in Singapore, filming,' she said, holding back tears. 'It always feels as if she will come back.' But the phone calls, voice messages and text messages from her beloved mother have stopped. 'It makes me feel very sad,' she said. 'When I was younger, receiving a call from her at school was somewhat annoying. I would wonder where else she thought I could be. But now I really miss hearing her yell at me.' Once an insecure overweight teenager who tipped the scales at 105kg, Cheng lost about 45kg and transformed herself into a bubbly young actress. Even so, she said it took courage to be involved in show business She was criticised for overacting in the early episodes of Off Pedder. 'I still give myself an E-minus, because I suck at acting, man,' said Cheng, who grew up in Canada. She said she still spends hours daily memorising her lines and having Cantonese pronunciation marked on her script. 'There were times I really wanted to give up. People were like: 'Oh Joyce, get out of here, get off television. When we see you on TV, we want to change the channel. Then turn off the TV. 'I think people expect more from me because both my parents are actors, but they also forget I am new. No matter how much I wanted to give up, I told myself if mum was here she would have told me not to give up but stick to it, try harder, show these people you can to do this and that you belong in this industry,' she said. On February 19, Cheng will film Off Pedder as usual. '[After work] I'm going to pay my respects to mum at the temple, bring her some of her favourite flowers and fruits, and I will probably have a vegetarian meal for her.'