THE stupendous display of fireworks across the skies to mark the new year seem to belie what the global economies endured over the past 12 months.
The cheers which followed each burst of the fiery display probably varied in emotive stance for revellers in Sydney or Yangon with, say, Moscow, Madrid or New Delhi.
But the millions of dollars spent by cities to outdo each other to sashay in 2013 could hardly match the fiscal cliff showdown in Washington even as revellers were already into countdown.
We were even distracted from the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh by the "bill" drama built-up which had all the Hollywood trappings. They must have received more global attention than they reckoned.
A dramatic start to 2013. And there has not been a dull day for the corporate world since the drama unfurled in DC - with a sequel in two months, which, promises to be a "cliff hanger" as Americans have been warned to "beware of the ceiling".
In all this, Malaysians appeared least excited by the showdown. During an interactive session with its clients last week, global economists from a foreign bank were quite tickled to see the level of disinterest in US developments when asked about the main risks to their business in 2013 and where they would like to park their money.
True, the recovery of the US economy will reverberate across global markets, as Europe continued to sit on the bench with slouched shoulders but Malaysians were more keen on what was happening in China, a bigger newsmaker with new leaders in tow.
They scored high on their optimism for Malaysia even in their choice of investments in 2013. According to their response, properties in Kuala Lumpur promised better returns than investments elsewhere.
This optimism was also revealed in the latest annual Grant Thornton International Business Report which declared that global optimism (at least, in the 44 economies it surveyed) has risen to four per cent from 0 same time last year.
But the optimism level of the businessmen in the Asean region - recognised by economists as the out-performing region was at an all-time high for most of the economies led by the Philippines (72 per cent), Malaysia (52 per cent), Singapore ( 26 per cent) and Thailand (19 per cent). Vietnam was the odd exception (-10 per cent).
Businesses are hopeful that the global demand will start to kick in, after June. By then, most of the important international events like the debt ceiling issue and the Chinese power transfer would have taken place, setting the scene for businesses to start to pick up where they left off during the economic crisis.
The general election will soon be in sight, much to the relief of corporate leaders from the multinational corporations and even the foreign missions. They can finally get back to their respective head offices to plan the long-awaited meetings of chiefs and industry heads in Putrajaya.
Malaysia already has a pretty story to tell and scenes on the ground corroborates this story - be they in Penang, Kuantan or Johor Baru. The story being numerous multi-million ringgit projects are being unleashed even as the advanced economies still remained weak and uncertain of their own respective future.
From a strong and powerful dragon which fired the engines of our economy on most fronts except the trade channel, can we dare hope that the water snake, the ruling animal in the 2013 Chinese calendar, would also continue the momentum?
One feng shui master has predicted that education, healthcare, oil and gas, plantations and technology would be the most alluring sectors for Malaysians while property and insurance would do poorly.
He did not specify the timeline like the way economists do but we have to fathom a guess that it could be after the second quarter.
After all, optimism is already in the air.
Maybe in 2013, the overused term "cautious optimism" will be replaced by some bold descriptions instead.