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What is 'om telolet om?' Meme's origins in Indonesia

Associated Press logo Associated Press 12/23/2016

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — What the heck is "om telolet om?"

It's a meme that's fanning across social media. It 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 footage shows groups of 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.

The phrase got picked up online. 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 people, however, are baffled and still asking: "What is om telolet om?" It loosely translates to "uncle, honk, uncle" ("telolet" is onomatopoeia for the festive beeps).

In Indonesia, video was posted on Instagram of 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.

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