DEAR Santa, I have laboured long and hard all year, and hope you will favour my trials and tribulations with the granting of a few wishes. This is the first full year in which I have been an ''almost'' (that is, full-time) politician. Politics may well be a career from which no man or woman really recovers. I sat on more committees this year than I have in the last decade. More are in store. Committees have become so important subcommittees have to be appointed. When I tell people I am going to a committee meeting, they either look at me with pity, or suspicion. Someone once said a committee is a group of men - and/ or women presumably - who keep minutes and waste hours. Didn't someone also say a camel looks like a horse that was planned by a committee? These wise-cracks are unfair. No committee could ever come up with anything as imaginative as a camel - an animal well adapted to its harsh natural habitat. But a committee might be able to come up with some creature which could partially cope with difficult conditions at hand. That is, surely, not too bad. A committee may even usefully decide nothing can be done. I would like to share a few observations about what actually goes on at committee meetings. Committee members ''deliberate'' on issues by discussion. Members frequently call for better ''communication'', but what they mean most of the time is that you should agree with them. And if they cannot respond to each other's arguments, vile names can still be thrown about with much fanfare as a substitute for satisfaction. Sometimes it seems no one really listens to anyone else, and if you try it for a year, maybe you will see why. Santa, my first wish is for people to pipe down if they have not made their point in the first minute. If my wish is granted, I promise I will make sure I am switched on for at least 60 seconds. If committee meetings can take a long time to get anywhere, diplomatic negotiations seem to be much worse. The Sino-British talks on electoral reforms for Hong Kong met 17 times and used up approximately 170 hours with no result. Diplomats can really make nothing happen very slowly. The effect of these secret ''talks'' has been to bore people to death with the non-events of the negotiating process. My fear is the good people of Hong Kong are so fed up with the whole thing they will welcome just about any outcome in order to put an end to the tedium. My second wish, Santa, is for the people of Hong Kong not to become so demoralised - their spirit of democracy going dim from deliberate under-nourishment. We want to look back at history with pride and look forward to the future with hope. There was a moment of excitement two weeks ago when Sir Percy Cradock, sinologist-extraordinaire and special adviser to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, wrote about evil - a suitable subject for good folks to ponder over at this time of the year. It is during the season of good cheer that we want most to reinforce what is good and deplore what is evil. BEIJING has been threatening with great gusto to liquidate whatever political institutions it finds in the territory in 1997 if there is noSino-British agreement on electoral reforms. Sir Percy warned ''Hong Kong will find itself worse off after 1997 . . . than it was in 1992''. The year 1992 is important - that was when his advice was no longer required. He suggested Hong Kong's Legislative Council members - I perked up to listen - should vote down any unilateral British initiative if there was no agreement. Sir Percy conceded Beijing ''has always been difficult in matters affecting Hong Kong, even in the best years of co-operation''. Since China is so big, and Hong Kong is so small, any agreement must be better than no agreement, even though the good folks of Hong Kong may find such an agreement grossly deficient. Die if you do, die if you don't - either way will be unpalatable. Sir Percy saw this unhappy situation as ''a choice of evils'' and advised us to take what he saw to be the less painful route. Sir Percy has been criticised as the architect of a policy of appeasement over Hong Kong. Do you remember Winston Churchill's definition of an appeaser? It is really rather good. An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. Or, what about appeasers believing that if you keep on throwing steaks to tigers, the tiger will become a vegetarian? Santa, since any pain will be experienced by the people of Hong Kong, I believe the decent thing to do is to ask them what they want. They may weigh pain and evil differently from Sir Percy. Ask them and they may well choose Mae West's reply: ''When choosing between two evils, I always like to try the one I've never tried before.'' What a brilliant idea. For my third wish, can I try the ''evil'' I have never tried before? Yes, Santa, let us have a fully democratic legislature in 1995 please! This brings me to my fourth wish. We will have district board elections in 1994. Can you make sure the good folks of Hong Kong turn out in force to exercise their vote? Poor representatives are elected by citizens who do not bother to go to the ballot box. There are governments, including China's, who argue the first priority of developing countries is to fill bellies, not to promote human rights. What do human rights have to do with filling bellies? Why can't they do both? They also argue their people cannot have freedom until they are educated enough to use their freedom properly. That does not sound right either, does it? It is like saying you must not swim until you have learned to do so. But how do you learn to swim inthe first place? We are ''swimming'' quite well in Hong Kong, and we want to have a deeper understanding of human rights both in theory as well as in practice. It will be extremely helpful if we can have a human rights commission as soon as possible. Governor Chris Patten is not in favour of a human rights commission. He does not seem to think it will endure beyond 1997, and as such, he will not set it up. But you can do it, Santa! This is my fifth wish. Mr Patten believes in Christmas and miracles, so please whisper in his ear. There is a relatively small group of women in Hong Kong, from the rural areas in the New Territories, who are having an especially hard time. Customary practice, recognised by the law, favours men who have all the rights to inherit property. If you are one of those unfortunate women, your brothers, even your male cousins, have a better legal claim to your parents' property than you do. My sixth wish is that in 1994, either the Hong Kong Government or the Legislative Council will take steps to correct this miserable discriminatory practice against a group of women. I will do my part, but Santa, please push everyone along!