That was then, and this is now: Happy 2008!!!!!

Dear friends, a very Happy New Year to you and yours.


Some of you I was talking to yesterday, some of you I last talked to 20 years ago, but by hook or by crook we have kept in contact. Now I am going to bring you up to date on recent goings on in the life of Niall.


True Irish Christmas weather outside: driving rain, and gale force winds. Was going to arm myself with a cup of Barry’s (the best tea in Ireland) and a blazing hot fire, but a packet of Tayto’s (the best cheese and onion crisps in the world) and a beer should also put me in a writing frame of mind.


2008 will mark the 20th year Surprised Asia has been my stomping ground Surprised. 1988 had been a whirlwind of bustle that all came to an abrupt reality check when I stepped out of an airport taxi in the grounds of the Beijing Language Institute to be greeted by two African students speaking a strange language which I later found out was Chinese. As the realisation that I was about to live one year in Beijing quickly set in I remember looking around for the taxi, maybe to get back into it, but it was already passing through the front gate.


Well that was then and this is now.


Five countries (China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong), Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and Thailand) and five jobs later (Dataquest, Dell, Gateway, Marrakech, and AEP) I am living in the city of Hangzhou, which is 90 minutes south of Shanghai, where I have been since March 2006. Earlier this year we  finally kicked-off Accurate Limited ( ), a China, and for that matter Asia, market-entry consulting and sourcing business, registered in Hong Kong. With office addresses in Hangzhou, Dublin and Hong Kong the focus is “Hitting The Mark In China Business”…. check out the website and let me know what you think (a few minor adjustments to made, so all should be ready by the end of the week). We also provide market-entry consulting and sourcing services for Chinese companies seeking to break into global markets.


From now on, whenever anyone you know mentions “China” you need to point them in my direction, and they won’t look back.


As with all years there are the highlights and the lowlights…


I guess the main highlights of the year were the celebration of Mum’s 80th  birthday in August, the Special Olympics Summer Games held in Shanghai in October (was there as a volunteer), finally getting Accurate out of the starting block, and connecting with cousins and friends I haven’t seen for a seriously long time…


Some of the lowlights were … customers who didn’t pay, and still didn’t pay after they promised to pay, the headaches and knife-edge circumstances associated with setting up a business, oh and the dismal performance of the Irish rugby team at the World Cup and Chinese plumbing…. Suffice to say despite the lowlights I am still going strong.


Family in Ireland are all in grand form.


William and Dervil, who practice acupuncture and psychology in Galway, respectively, finally built  their own clinic. In their spare time their new outdoor hobbies include deep sea diving and horses.


Conor, passed his 10th year working at Joys restaurant (not to be confused with Mountjoy, the local prison), with customers telling him the place would have closed years ago had it not been for his wit and charm. For those of you who know Conor, but haven’t seen him for years, you would be truly amazed to see how well he has come on.


Mum participated in her first art exhibition, selling two paintings, while the real work of art was, as usual, her garden, which in the summer is a most magical place.


Muffin (otherwise referred to as "herself") is still walked twice a day on Killiney and Seapoint beaches come rain, sleet or snow is well on the way to becoming the first dog to be officially declared human.


And so to 2008, an Olympic year in China. I anticipate the next eight months in China will be the most momentous days there since the infamous events of 1989, and possibly since the foundation of the People’s Republic. If you, or anyone you know, are heading to China let me know. Would be happy to facilitate accomodation / travel arrangements.


Yep I am certainly looking forward to the new year more than I have done for a long time.


To all of you I wish you excellent health and peace of mind. Happy New Year and may your God go with you.




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