Filipino educator shines in Singapore

Dr. Ruanni F.Tupas, Filipino Spirit to Survive and Succeed

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Dr. Ruanni F. Tupas is an international speaker, book author and  multi-awarded teacher known for his contribution to improve the quality and impact our education system for the future.

He was twice in a row a recipient of the CELC Commendation for Teaching Excellence (2010 and 2011), and also garnered an NUS Teaching Excellence Award for 2012.

In 2009, the Linguistic Society of the Philippines (LSP) awarded him the Andrew Gonzalez Distinguished Professorial Chair in Linguistics and recently, elevated him to honorary membership.

Fascinating Experience

He is presently an Assistant Professor at the English Language and Literature Academic Group of the National Institute of Education , Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He was educated at the University of the Philippines (BA, MA) and the National University of Singapore (Ph.D.)

Prior to his present post, he was Senior Lecturer at the Centre for English Language Communication of the NUS where he taught for ten years from 2002 to 2012.

From 2009-2012, he was co-Project Director with KC Lee of a SGD$485,000 capability-building curriculum development project funded by Temasek Foundation for selected tertiary institutions in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

“More than the knowledge acquired through collaboration with colleagues from the region, my cultural experience was fascinating. I learned more about Southeast Asia – its many cultures and languages and, of course, food!”

Aside from being Director for Research and Special Projects of the LSP, he is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics.

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The Colorful Singapore

In 1999, he came to Singapore as a research scholar at NUS, working towards a doctorate.  Looking back, like many Filipinos, he didn’t had a very broad knowledge of Singapore. “At the time -1999, I only heard about Flor Contemplacion, the chewing gum and the caning of some naughty young foreigner.”

“I was pretty scared then; I couldn’t even cross the street without thinking that there might be security cameras around me. Today, Singapore is still strict. But there is more to Singapore than the stereotypes we have about it. It is very colorful – its people and its languages.”

A Tennis Fan

“My family and I live on the sprawling campus of NTU.” His wife, Mildred Gonzales Tupas, is from San Nicolas, Pangasinan.

“Well, perhaps some people don’t know that I do preach in church. We are Bible Baptists and are members of the Southeast Asia Bible Baptist Church of Singapore under Pastor Amerel Gomoc.We met in our past church in San Pedro, Laguna under Pastor Jun Tan.”

They have three kids: Rush (10), Ram (7) and Rain (5).

Family of Educators

Dr. Ruanni is proud to have come from a family of educators. “My maternal grandmother was a school principal; my mother was an English teacher, then Dean of an institution in Aklan. Several relatives are in the teaching profession. One of my sisters, Joanne, is in early education as well and is very passionate about child-centered education.”

He was born and raised in Aklan. He has two sisters, Joanne and Jhera. All three of them graduated valedictorian from the same high school in Aklan, then called Roxas Memorial College of Arts and Trades. They all went to the University of the Philippines in Diliman.

International Speaker and Book Author

His edited a book, (Re)making society: Language, discourse and identity in the Philippines (University of the Philippines Press) which was a 2008 Philippine National Book Awards finalist.

His other books include Second Language Teaching published in 2004 by the UP Open University, Changing Perspectives on Pedagogical Grammar published by Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics, and Communicating in the University Culture published by the NUS.

He is currently a member of the Advisory Board of Language Teaching, Board of Reviewers of Malaysian Journal of ELT Research and the Editorial Board of Asia-Pacific Education Researcher.

He was invited to speak at international conferences in Massachusetts, USA; Hanoi, Vietnam; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Lahore, Pakistan and, Manila, Philippines.

Touch or Break Lives

“Waking up in the morning with the thought of molding young minds (no matter how idealistic this one is, of course), and not looking for profit for my company, is one advantage of my profession.”

“No matter what we feel about our profession nowadays (with education being treated like a commodity to be sold), when we enter the classroom we know that we can either touch or break lives. It may not be true all the time, of course, but there is always a feeling of being ‘relevant’, of being able to inspire others through your teaching and research.”

Yes, with Ruanni, the Filipino spirit to survive and to succeed amidst all the constraints in life is remarkable.

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IMG_3984THE BLOGGER. Ulysses Espartero is a journalist, historian and book author who traces his roots from two Philippine jewels – Laguna and Antique.  While in Dubai, he enjoyed his expat life documenting the struggles and victories of migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council states. In 2014, he released Precious Gems in a Desert of Gold, the first and only coffee table book about Filipino achievers in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him on facebook.




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