What Is "Om Telelot Om"? The Indonesian Phrase Is Going Viral For Hilarious Reasons
On the next episode of "WTH is going on with Twitter," we have the curious case of "Om Telelot Om". Ever since Zedd and DJ Snake and tweeted the phrase with no context on Dec. 20, many have been wondering: What does "Om Telelot Om" mean? If it's popping up on your dash, you are far from alone. In the last 24 hours, dozens of popular names in dance music tweeted the phrase, prompting hundreds of people who weren't in on the shenanigans to try and ask what the meaning behind it was. Thankfully, Indonesian Twitter has come to the rescue, explaining that it's simply a regional meme that has gone hella internationally viral.
First, what the phrase means: you know how in English, we refer use the word "honk" to describe the blare of a horn? The Indonesian version of that onomatopoeia is "telelot," because it's what the blare of a city bus horn sounds like phonetically. According to The Jakarta Post, because children love the sound of this specific horn, they hold up signs in Jepara, Central Java to bus drivers saying "om telelot om," or literally: "sir, honk your horn, sir." The bus drivers have been playfully obliging, to the point where the city has now had to ask bus drivers to stop because it is causing traffic jams.
Here's a video below:
So how did we go from this childish fun to Zedd and DJ Snake breaking this here internet?
OM TELOLET OM— Zedd (@Zedd) December 20, 2016
Om Telolet Om— DJ SNAKE (@djsnake) December 20, 2016
Om Telolet Om is awesome— marshmello (@marshmellomusic) December 20, 2016
According to Billboard, the meme-ification of "om telolet om" began with Indonesian kids using it to spam comments on Instagram and Twitter. It's kind of like how we all hopped onto Beyoncé's feeds with lemons and bees back when Lemonade debuted, except this is seemingly to celebrities at large — it just seems as though dance music artists have seen the most of it, and have taken note.
It's all in good fun — kind of like how people spam the word "MOM" or "DM ME" at Katy Perry whenever she tweets. It seems to be a supportive "we want to hear from you!"/"plz @me" type of spam. Twitter user ladygoldstein elaborated in the comments of Zedd's original tweet:
@Zedd "om" is a common calling for uncle or a male stranger who's in their adult year (most bus drivers here are male)— Gerღ (@ladygoldstein) December 20, 2016
She retweeted an example video below:
And because this is Twitter, ask and ye shall receive: within hours of the phrase going viral, artists started responding with "telolet" works. Here is one from Firebeatz:
As well as one from Dillon Francis:
Because both dreams and memes come true, kids.