Introduction: The Story of Wealth Dragons

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: It goes on.

—Robert Frost

John: My rather ordinary, humble start in life took place in a small Lancashire town in the north of England, not far from the Yorkshire Dales. I was born in Burnley General Hospital in 1981 and grew up in Colne, a fairly remote and typically northern English town, where my parents owned and ran the local Chinese takeaway. They were both originally from Hong Kong and moved to the UK in the 1970s. They married shortly after meeting and started what was to become a family business. Many Chinese people born in Hong Kong moved to the UK in those days, taking advantage of the time during which Hong Kong was a British territory, which gave them the right to British nationality. The influx was responsible for a surge in Chinese takeaways. The British seemed to love the new, exotic, tasty (and relatively cheap) fast food, and many families built up successful small businesses as a result.

My parents, and their extended family members, worked long hours to keep the business up and running, and making a profit. It was a hard life and I hardly saw them while I was growing up. Colne has grown since the time I lived there, but during my childhood there were only a handful of shops and one primary school, where I was teased mercilessly for being the only Chinese boy in the school. I remember my nickname was Bruce Lee. This might have been a compliment within ...

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