Om telolet om meaning: What does ‘om telolet om!’ mean (Indonesia children)

Published 7:28 am Friday, December 23, 2016

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Honk if you want to know what the internet’s latest meme “om telolet om” means.

The expression was started by Indonesian children standing on the side of the road yelling for bus and truck drivers to toot their horns, which play a series of jingle-like beeps.

Internet videos showed Indonesian kids holding signs and jumping up and down with each passing bus while calling out: “Om telolet om! Om telolet om!” When the driver lays on the horn, the children jump and shriek with delight.

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Once the videos went viral so did the expression. International DJs have released mixes with om telolet om honks in them, and social media feeds have been spammed with om telolet messages followed by bus icons. Some people have posted videos online in New York and other cities yelling out “om telolet om!” to passing trucks.

Many, though, still ask what it means. The expression loosely translates to “uncle, honk, uncle” (“telolet” is onomatopoeia for the festive beeps).

A video posted on Instagram from Indonesia showed police officers dancing in the street when passing buses and trucks blasted their horns.

Despite all the fun, The Jakarta Post reported this week that police in Jepara, Indonesia, where children first started yelling the phrase at buses, have banned the practice for safety reasons.