What Is Om Telolet Om?

21 December 2016

☀ This is English version of the article Apa itu Om Telotet Om?

I know “Om Telolet Om” after reading comment section in almost all news portals or in media social in Indonesia. Whatever the content of the news, there must be one or two people commented “om Telotet om”. Why this phrase so happening or so popular?

So what is Om Telolet Om? What does it mean? (Somehow I often misspelled with toletot, tolelot, tolelet, toletet, tolelet etc). Here is the explanation. This phenomenon becomes popular after some people upload a video taken in Jepara, South Java, Indonesia. That video showing some kids standing at side of the road waiting for intercity bus to pass by. As the bus draw near to the kid, they will shout “Om Telolet Om” (sometimes some kid hold a paper written Om! Telolet). That shouting is addressed to the bus driver to honk the horn.

  • “Om” is a term to call older male. If translated to English it means “uncle”, but in general it can also mean “sir”.
  • “Telolet” represent the bus horn sound, is like “Honk honk”. (Since some of Indonesian busses sounds not as simple as “honk”)

In short, when people says “Om Telolet Om” is same as saying “Sir, Honk Honk, Sir” (translated literally) or “Sir, please honk the horn”. Specifically this shouting is directed to a bus or sometimes a truck driver.

So, what is the purpose? Why the kids asking this? Well, it just for fun. Maybe those kids felling happy just by listening busses horn. Or maybe because they just want to do something together with their friends.

For bismania community (a group of bus enthusiast), this is not something new. They already documented the uniqueness of many busses horn in Indonesia for quite long ago. But for many other people, this phenomenon become trend after they saw how those kids patiently waiting for the bus to pass by and how they very happy when the driver honk the horn. This makes people realize that happiness is simple.

Nowadays, not just kids that eagerly waiting for the bus and say “Om Telolet Om”, but also teenagers (male and female) and adult too. Some people record the sound then upload it to social media; some mix it with music and so on.

Well, I guess it is good for horn business owner and also for the bus driver to keep them awake or to make their day a little bit happier just by looking at the kids' happy face.

Maybe some people will think this think is cheesy or maybe they will ask questions are Indonesian kids’ lack of entertainment? Well, in my personal opinion, as long as it makes peoples happy, what’s wrong with that? (As long as we do it safely). Maybe we all should try it for our self, standing in side of the road, holding a banner and then we shouting to the bus driver “Oooommm…. Telolet oooommmm…..” I bet it will be fun

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