THEY were less than 500 metres away from each other, but the two highest ranking politicians in Hong Kong yesterday could have been a world apart as they operated on the ''one lunchtime, two speeches'' principle, speaking to different audiences in rather different styles. The Governor, Chris Patten, and the Director of China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Lu Ping - whose schedules have been carefully sculpted not to coincide during Mr Lu's nine-day visit - both spoke in English and made specific references to the ''one country, two systems'' policy promised after 1997 during lunch speeches yesterday. Gastronomically speaking, they both started with a salad, and finished with berries, but the differences between their lunches went much further than the fact that the Governor had chicken for his main course, while Mr Lu had tenderloin of pork. Mr Lu was speaking to a hushed and cramped sell-out audience of 500 business people in the Hilton ballroom, while Mr Patten spoke for 10 minutes to about 100 members of the Lions Club in the Ritz Carlton ballroom. Separated, appropriately, by the Legislative Council building and the colonial area of Chater Gardens, Mr Lu spoke of the future, while Mr Patten celebrated the past. And while the members of the 200-strong media contingent - including 14 television crews - balanced precariously on a specially constructed stage to hear Mr Lu promise continued prosperity for Hong Kong, three minutes brisk walk away the Governor had attracted only a couple of dozen reporters and photographers. After chatting to the chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Henry Fok Ying-tung, over the appetiser, and chairman of the Hong Kong Chamber, William Fung Kwok-lun, over the main course, Mr Lu stood beneath a large red and gold banner on a pedestal, and read a speech that had been translated in advance. As he spoke, accompanied by the constant whirring of cameras, the only sound from the audience was a simultaneous shuffling as he reached the end of each page. After his brave words about China's continued progress towards true socialism over the next centuries, and the value of Hong Kong being its financial value and not its politics, the applause from the largely commerce-based audience lasted for a full 17 seconds, after which Mr Lu was given a small present in a red box. Then, accompanied by some of his 15 security officers, Mr Lu left the room without permitting questions, and departed in a Mercedes-Benz. Mr Patten resorted to a more chatty, and oblique, approach - reminding his listeners of a Chinese proverb that those who drink at a well should remember the people who built the well in the first place, saying there was more water, metaphorically, in Hong Kong than anyone could ever have thought 20 years ago. At one point the assembled Lions gave an appropriate roar of laughter as Mr Patten dryly referred to the low likelihood that he would still be in Hong Kong in 2000 as chief executive of the Special Administrative Region. He promised to answer reporters' questions ''at the next stop'', which was Tsing Yi Island Technical College, before walking out of the hotel on a specially rolled out red carpet and departing in his Daimler.