THE year 1993 is one that will be remembered more for the tragedies and disappointments, rather than the joys of success. Hong Kong's New Year was just seconds old when tragedy struck. Twenty-one people died and about 30 others injured in a crush during celebrations by crowds of up to 20,000 revellers in Lan Kwai Fong, Central. ''It is a grim beginning of the year,'' said Governor Chris Patten. Violence showed its brutal face days later when robbers, firing AK-47 rifles indiscriminately, killed a woman in Nathan Road during a jewellery shop raid - leading to renewed calls for the implementation of the death penalty. Cathay Pacific staff went on strike on January 13 prior to the Lunar New Year, causing chaos at Kai Tak airport and leaving thousands of passengers and dozens of planes grounded. Out-going United States President George Bush signed a ''treaty of hope'' in January with his Russian counterpart Boris Yeltsin - the most far-reaching nuclear disarmament agreement ever - which meant the end of two-thirds of US and Russian nuclear missiles. Bill Clinton became the 42nd President of the United States and later, in September, he saw his peace efforts help to bring a tentative peace agreement between the long-feuding Israelis and Palestine Liberation Organisation. Stress was thought to be the cause when Mr Patten underwent treatment to widen two coronary arteries in February. However, he pledged to stay on until 1997. That same month, the gazetting of electoral reform proposals was postponed following Exco discussions, in a bid to jump-start the stalled Anglo-Chinese talks on Hong Kong's political future. Mr Justice Bokhary's report into the Lan Kwai Fong tragedy was published and recommended pre-planning by police, and greater liaison between police, licensing authorities and event organisers. Financial Secretary Hamish Macleod produced the biggest ''giveaway'' budget in Hong Kong's history, removing 250,000 people from the tax net entirely and increasing public spending across the board. In February, Mr Patten finally gazetted his electoral reform bill, after four previous deferrals, but gave no date for submitting draft legislation to Legco. Chinese officials said the move destroyed the chances of future talks being convened. Tragedy struck again in April, when heavily armed members of the Branch Davidian Cultists staged a bloody 51-day stand-off against the FBI at their Mount Carmel compound in Texas. When the FBI finally moved in at least 74 followers died in the ensuing blaze. In April the sporting world was shocked by the stabbing of top tennis star Monica Seles by a crazed fan. In May Liberal Party Legislative Councillor Stephen Cheong Kam-chuen died from a heart attack at the age of 51. In June, Gilbert Leung Kam-ho, 40, a former Sai Kung Legislative Councillor was sentenced to three years jail by the High Court in June for corruption. Later, former Malaysian banker Lorrain Osman, 62, was released after serving just two months of a one-year sentence in Hong Kong. Happiness showed its head at last when Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako celebrated their marriage. But tragedy struck again in August, when a series of at least nine explosions - one a massive fireball - at a dangerous goods storage depot, killed up to 80 people and injured more than 200 others in Shenzhen. A full inquiry was ordered by the Chinese authorities. Hong Kong mourned the death of Lord Kadoorie, the honorary chairman of China Light and Power who died in August aged 94. Tragedy struck Thailand in August, when a six-storey hotel collapsed in Nakhon Ratchasima, eastern Thailand, killing more than 100 people and injuring 200 others. In September, Hong Kong's biggest crime investigation got underway after documents were seized in raids on 100 offices of the Allied Group. The probe was prompted by an investigation 13 months earlier by Financial Secretary Hamish McLeod. September proved a time of mixed sporting emotions for China. While 20-year-old Wang Junxia was breaking world records in the 3,000 metres on successive days, the nation's joy - and hopes of staging the 2000 Olympics - were shattered when the games were awarded to Sydney. In October, exiled Chinese dissident Han Dongfang was refused permission to return home three times, but only this month has reiterated that he has not given up hope of going back to China. In November, Alex Tsui Ka-kit was sacked as Deputy Director of Operations for the Independent Commission Against Corruption, for reasons never made public. All 296 people on board a China Airline jumbo jet survived in November when the plane skidded off the Kai Tak runway into the harbour, injuring 23. The tail was blown up to avoid blocking the arrival of other planes. A resumed inquest into the Castle Peak power station blast which killed two workers in August last year brought their widows sad tears of success when it returned a verdict of death by lack of care. The new Chief Secretary, Anson Chan Fang On-sang, was all smiles when she took over as the territory's top civil servant in November from Sir David Ford. Peace took a tentative step forward in troubled South Africa when African National Congress President Nelson Mandela and South African President F. W. de Klerk approved a democracy constitution to give blacks the vote and end white minority rule. The two were also made joint winners of the year's Nobel Peace Prize. In the world of business the stock market defied its habitual reaction toward negative political news. The index shot up to successive record highs - even topping the Hang Seng 11,000 point index for the first time on December 10, despite the backdrop of a breakdown in the Sino-British talks on Hong Kong's election arrangements. Pictures that appear in the South China Morning Post may not be reproduced without permission, but may be purchased by telephoning Photo Sales on 565-2272.