'After a year, I am fitter and happier than when I arrived'

Fanny Wong

DESPITE the high-pressure job, Chris Patten is still in good spirits.

The hostile relationships he has experienced with Chinese officials have not depressed him and he still hopes for a better relationship with the mainland.

He has been referred to as a prostitute, thief and tango dancer over the past months, and was condemned by Lu Ping as a ''man of guilt''.

''It's not a remark I would ever use but I recognise some political and cultural traditions are different from others,'' Mr Patten said.

Speaking on the first anniversary of his governorship, he wished that Chinese officials would recognise they were better off dealing with a strong governor.

''I hope that we'll make sufficient progress in all these political issues that we've been talking about so as to ensure . . . when you interview me on my second anniversary, you'd discover that all the questions you want to ask me about are other thingsthan politics,'' Mr Patten said.

''After a year in Hongkong, I am fitter and healthier and happier than I was when I arrived, so I hope I can say the same in a year's time.'' Mr Patten marked the day with a 7.30 am breakfast with Chief Secretary Sir David Ford and close friends.

The rest of the day was as usual - meetings with aides and media interviews.

In the evening, he had to rush to the airport to meet Mr Hurd before briefing the Executive Council on the talks, followed by a gathering with legislators at Government House after 9 pm.