PATTEN ''There is a certain custom in these matters. But maybe a thousand years is a long time in politics [but] a fortnight is even shorter.'' - The Governor after the announcement of talks, when asked what had changed since Chinese leaders said he would be condemned for a thousand years. CHINESE OFFICIAL ''The most important thing now is [for Britain] to show its sincerity. Such little tricks do not help.'' - Mainland official, based in Hongkong, accusing the British Government of wrong-doing by publicising its line-up for the meeting immediately after the announcement. LEE ''It shows that kowtowing is not the way.'' - Martin Lee Chu-ming, welcoming the fact that Hongkong officials would be present. NG ''I think we'll see 7,000 in the medium term but it won't happen tomorrow.'' - Michael Ng of Sassoon Securities, claiming the Hang Seng went up ''too much, too fast'' to a record 6,789.7. CATHAY PACIFIC ''This is not an act of discrimination against trade unions. We are very short of office space at Kai Tak.'' - Cathay spokesman, explaining why the Flight Attendants' Union, which struck for 17 days over the Lunar New Year, is being told tomove out of the airline's Kai Tak office. It has been there for 18 years. CLEMENTS ''It was all quite smooth actually. I'll be definitely looking forward to a second visit.'' - Geoff Clements, the first Hongkong-based helicopter pilot to refuel from a Chinese oil rig, while on a rescue mission in the South China Sea. PETER ''Even those people I testified against have been released but, in a funny way, I still live like a prisoner.'' - Triad informer Peter (not his real name), complaining about what he claims to be inadequate police protection nearly six years after hefirst gave evidence. MORRIS ''This is the biggest hostage-taking in the history of American foreign policy.'' - Stephen Morris, of the Harvard Centre for International Affairs, commenting on the discovery of a secret report which claims North Vietnam was holding 1,205 American PoWs towards the end of the war, not the 368 Vietnam claimed. Vietnam claims the report is a forgery. HO ''I was told by a fung shui man 30 years ago that the island would be flattened and sunk.'' - Ho Yung-hei, former resident of Chek Lap Kok. He and others are complaining about the time taken to provide them with new homes at Tung Chung. CAMPESE ''I don't know what I am doing here.'' - Australian rugby giant David Campese, complaining about being asked to take part in the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Scotland. He believes last month's Hongkong event would have served the purpose admirably.