To most commuters, the words “human contact on the MTR” are liable to conjure suppressed memories of rush hours spent pressed against a sweaty wall of human flesh.

If you ever feel that Hong Kongers’ hearts are as cold as the city’s air conditioning, local celebrity Denise Ho is here to challenge that.

The well-known Cantopop singer and actress recently decided to lead her group in an experiment: to send off complete strangers on MTR platforms with an emphatic “bye bye!” – and somehow even more emphatic wave.

Headphones on, eyes cast down and immersed in their own digital worlds, many of the commuters (understandably) struggle to comprehend the sudden onslaught of human warmth.

Disarmed by the ubiquitous phrase, however, others open up and give us a brief glimpse of the friendliness that lurks behind the hustle and bustle.

Plenty of others just smile awkwardly. But hey, awkward smiles still count.

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Hong Wrong lives on at HKFP, offering a mix of news, mildly serious observation & irreverent claptrap chronicling the good, bad and ugly under the Fragrant Harbour’s fading lights.