National Taiwan Normal University
Uğur Rıfat Karlova (Rifat Karlova)
Uğur Rıfat Karlova is a Turkish-Taiwanese stand-up comedian, actor, TV host, showman, writer and Youtuber.
Study at National Taiwan Normal University to understand Chinese culture and integrate into Taiwan
Rifat was graduated from Ankara University’s Department of Chinese/Sinology. After understanding Taiwan, he believed that National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) was the best choice, so he went to Taiwan as soon as he graduated from the university and study NTNU’s Institute of Politics with a scholarship and received his master’s degree in 2006. During the period of studying NTNU, he strived to seek opportunities for success in Taiwan. Therefore, the teacher at NTNU’s encouragement and care often made him feel touched and thankful, and he is very proud to be one of NTNU’s alumni. Rifat believes that it’s more important to show the talents than to focus on the school’s subjects. His purpose of studying politics is to understand Chinese culture, history and politics in order to be more integrated into the Taiwan environment. In 2016, he was invited to return to his alma mater, National Taiwan Normal University, to give lectures for young students. According to his experiences of self-study Chinese and travelling to foreign country for study, he emphasized that it’s not necessary to be afraid to try. He also encouraged to seize every opportunity actively. He also mentioned that Taiwanese students must strengthen their international outlook, broaden their horizons and get out of the comfort zone when they are young.
Passionate about Performances: Non-Chinese Chinese Stand-up Comedian
Rifat started his single stage performances at the Comedy Club Taipei which is the sole comedy club in Taiwan. He has performed more than 100 shows in the Mandarin Chinese language. He is one of the first foreigners to perform in the Chinese language in Taiwan and the world. Rifat also performed in Hong Kong at Take Out Comedy Club and got the 2 title in 2010 Hong Kong International Stand Up Comedy Contest. Since 2013, he had followed the stage performance group Funning Man to make more than 50 performances. A total of more than 20,000 audiences watched the performances of Funning Man for three years. During the performance, Rifat is responsible for talk shows and short plays.
Award for Best Travel Show Host
In 2011, Rifat did not have a scholarship for living. In order to earn more money, he took the initiative to write to the broker or directly knock on the door of the brokerage company and said, “Do you need a performance? Do you need a host? I believe I can do well even though I am a foreigner.”
Finally, he finally found the opportunity to host iWalker. On this show, Rifat went up mountain and sea, introduced special local food, experienced rural life, and even participated in Baishatun Mazu pilgrimage, the Yan-shui Beehive Fireworks Festival, and performed Ba jia jiang (the eight generals). He proved “I Can create higher value than many other artists.”
Having previously worked as a tour guide in Turkey and studied Taiwanese history, he knew how to ask the right questions at the right time, ensuring that audiences didn’t just see where to get good food or have a good time, but also learned more about the local culture and history. With his slightly accented Mandarin, his ability to weave in occasional sentences in Taiwanese, and his natural and unpretentious hosting style, Rifat was quickly embraced by viewers. In 2012, he was honored with the Golden Bell Award for Best Travel Show Host. He is the first foreigner of winning Golden Bell Award. From 2011 to 2020, Rifat has hosted over 400 episodes of iWalker.
Rifat has seen virtually everything the people and places of Taiwan have to offer. What fascinates him most, though, is Taiwan’s temple festivals. He’s even been part of the Yanshui Beehive Fireworks Festival and the Baishatun Mazu Pilgrimage. For the latter, thousands of believers were gathered, letting off firecrackers and fireworks everywhere as the Eight Generals marched; for Rifat , it felt like a carnival. In 2019, in a series of columns, Traveling with Rifat to Taiwan, he collaborated with the magazine Future Teenager to designed vivid and interesting stories and let young kids understand Taiwan’s ecology and folk customs.
Becoming A “New Taiwanese”
In 2018, Rifat became a national of the Republic of China (Taiwan) through naturalization for high-level professionals, and he was a lead singer to sing the national anthem of the Republic of China as a “new Taiwanese” on New Year’s Day that year. In 2019, he hosted the National Day Celebration of the Republic of China (Taiwan), and he was the second “new resident” to host the National Day Celebration.
In recent years, social media has risen while TV has declined. He has keenly shifted his focus. He has more than 500,000 fans on Facebook and 253,000 fans on YouTube. He writes articles about Taiwan’s current affairs, shoots self-made short videos, and had tens of thousands of views on the topics of Taiwan’s national health insurance, politics, high speed rail, and snacks.