(Excerpted from Jan. 29, 2011 article by Andrew Meacham,  Staff Writer, St. Petersburg Times

"Kwok Kwong Mui, who co-founded the restaurant with two cousins in 1965, always regarded the business as a means, not an end.

He wanted his children to do better.To make those things possible, Mr. Mui manned a wok as head chef - 12 hours a day, six days a week.

"He would be all hot and sweaty from kitchen work," said Linda Mui Wright, a daughter. "He would say, 'You all don't want to be like this. Make sure you study so you can have a 9-to-5 job.'"

Out of his $30-a-week initial wages, Mr. Mui later told his family, he kept just $5 for his daily needs. The rest he saved for the restaurant he dreamed of buying or sent to family members in Canton, China.

I didn't know Kwok Kwong Mui but his life story closely resembles those of countless other Chinese restaurant owners I've learned about.  Their lives, full of long hours of hard work for low income, were dedicated to the goals of supporting family here and often back in China as well.