What on earth happened to 2012? It was here just a minute ago but I seem to have mislaid it somewhere, along with the notebook in which I scribbled down the notes for the column that was going to fill this space.
I blame lunar calendars for the speed at which the years have passed since I landed in China. These calendars have magical properties, as I discovered since acquiring the habit of hanging one up on the wall of my home each year - after arriving here just the other day, in the year of the dog, now many, many moons ago.
If you diligently tear off the pages day by day, you will find that the years slip away like leaves in the wind. Before you know it, you will have reached the last page, which predicts what to expect in the year ahead.
As we all know, predictions are a waste of time, even about the weather, which can be as inscrutable as the sequence of numbers in the next Mark Six draw. I do feel confident, however, in predicting that the next lunar year will be called the year of the snake, but don't quote me on that.
Nevertheless, emboldened by the speed at which the previous year vanished over the horizon, allow me to predict some of the things that we can expect in the 12 months to come.
Firstly, should we be lucky enough to be compos mentis this day 12 months hence, we will marvel at the speed with which 2013 has passed on. It will seem to have gone far more quickly than it did in 2012, and the speed with which 2011 vanished into the past tense will, by comparison, seem to have been sedate.
We will also marvel at how some of the best things in 2013 occurred unexpectedly, and how some things intensely desired did indeed come to pass, only because we had wished it so. We will bewail the non-appearance of some happiness, but sigh with relief that some bad things we had feared did not materialise. We will feel anger at some outrage reported in the mass media, but also consoled by something inspirational. A bad thing will happen, but it will only temper us against those bad things that still lie in wait.
Then again, instead of sticking my neck out by trying to foretell the future, I could just simply wish you "a happy new year". But, hey, I think I just did.
Alex Lo is on leave