Another New Year. A very special one this, for every family in Hong Kong and for Hong Kong as a whole. We know the reason for that - this is the last new year before the transfer of sovereignty this summer. So, it's a poignant and exciting time for everybody. Particularly poignant for me and my wife and our youngest daughter, because we'll be leaving Hong Kong, which has been our home for five years, at the end of June.
Unfortunately we haven't had our two elder girls, Kate and Laura, with us while I've been Governor. They've come on holidays. They've seen what a very special place Hong Kong is. But like so many of you, I've had children away from Hong Kong finishing their education, and starting their careers, and I'd be telling you a terrible untruth if I didn't admit that we've missed them a great deal from time to time.
But our youngest daughter, like my wife and myself, has greatly enjoyed living in Hong Kong. She's had a wonderful education. She's made marvellous friends, and I think it's going to be particularly difficult for her when she leaves the place which she regards as home.
When we leave we'll be looking back on many friendships made, and I hope that the friends we've made will be friends for life. I'd certainly like to think that, at a New Year.
I suppose when we look back in Hong Kong over the last months, we see once again a story of extraordinary success.
The Hong Kong economy is one of the best ..... best performing in the world. We're the freest economy in the world, according to American think-tanks. We've been very happy to see our growth rate staying pretty high, and we've seen inflation come down.
We've seen unemployment figures fall. Any unemployment is too much, but at least we're creating more jobs again. And we've seen our reserves - the amount of money that we've got as a community in the bank - we've seen our reserves increasing even more over the last months.
That economic strength has enabled us to do what a caring community like this wants to see the Government doing. Making better provision for the elderly, for the disabled, for the disadvantaged, for all those who don't have as successful and prosperous a time in society as the majority.
It's right to take care of them, and it's right also - I think - for us to have started to involve the community in a discussion of our long-term housing strategy, because the most important thing in every family's life, apart from the health and education of their children, is to have a decent roof over their heads. So housing matters to everyone.
Well, we look forward from this New Year to the challenging year ahead. I think we can do so with quite a bit of confidence. There aren't many places around the world where you could say that the economy had doubled in strength over the last dozen or so years. There aren't many places around the world, with such a fine civil service as we've got.
There aren't many places around the world where you can point to as great social stability as there is in Hong Kong. And what's one of the signs of that? Well, the fact that here in Hong Kong our crime has been falling and is now actually lower than it was in the early 1980's.
So Hong Kong is a successful and decent place for everyone to live in. I very much hope that it will continue to be even more successful, that it will continue to be a splendid place in which you can bring up your family, and that when you look back at the next Chinese New Year, when you look back on this year, you'll be able to see another one which has been very successful.
I'll leave Hong Kong this summer, with - as I said - a good deal of nostalgia, a good deal of feeling for one of the finest places in the world, one of the greatest cities in the world, and I'm sure that Mr Tung - when he becomes Chief Executive of the SAR - will be committed to doing all he can to keep things that way.
So, to all of you watching at home - Sun Chun Fai Lok.