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'Om Telolet Om' phenomenon goes viral

Asmara Wreksono
Asmara Wreksono

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Wed, December 21, 2016 | 12:38 pm
'Om Telolet Om' phenomenon goes viral

Children and youngsters gather in front of a gas station in Ngabul, Jepara, cheering on as a inter-province bus passes by honking the 'telolet' sound. (Facebook/File)

Indonesian Twitter users have been tweeting about the “Om Telolet Om” phenomenon almost non-stop for 12 hours. The telolet has become a national trending topic. The meme appeared on Facebook almost a month ago and what may seem like just another funny but meaningless local meme garnered international attention when professional DJs began to pick up on the Indonesian “telolet” meme with producer/DJ Zedd’s tweet Tuesday night.

The attraction of the unique bus honk sound is apparently unique and suddenly major DJs started tweeting about the Om Telolet Om. 

Oliver Heldens thought of “omelet” when he heard about the Om Telolet Om meme on Twitter.

The Chainsmokers also questioned what Om Telolet Om means.

Firebeatz even came up with a mix in response to the Om Telolet Om discussion.

Billboard also did their homework on this growing “sound” phenomenon and speculated on whether the sound would be heard in future dance anthems. 

So what does Om Telolet Om mean? Where did it come from? 

Back in November, the Indonesian Facebook sphere buzzed with videos of children and youngsters standing on the streets of Ngabul, Jepara, Central Java, shouting “om telolet om!” at passing inter-province buses. The phrase om telolet om literally means “Sir, honk your horn, sir”, and when bus drivers honk to produce the telolet sound the children cheer in glee.

The video was first uploaded by a Facebook user on Nov. 26 and has since garnered over 1 million views and 44,409 shares on Facebook. 

Most Facebook users commented and shared the video with comments such as, “It doesn’t take much money to be happy, just wait for the buses and ask them to honk.”

Many hearts were warmed and entertained watching the happiness of the children when a bus responded to their request.

The “telolet hunter” phenomenon has also created traffic jams in the Jepara area. In anticipation of further traffic jams, the Jepara Police have looked into the matter and have called on bus drivers to not make the telolet sound. However, investigations conducted using a Soundmeter have proved that the honking sound is within a tolerable range of 112, 9 dB (A), with the maximum being 118 db (A). 

Currently, videos of “telolet hunters” have appeared in other regions in Central Java. 

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