A lesson in retrospect

She was always hesitant to make friends over the internet. Most men she met were gross slobs, and correspondence with women would stop after a couple of messages. But this guy seemed very different. He was well-spoken, formal, even. It was as if one of Jane Austen’s characters time travelled and made a Facebook profile.

It took some time, but slowly, and through heated political (virtual) debates at first, she started to learn more about him: he was a ballet dancer, he was not much older than her, but possessed an old soul’s wisdom, he was American but considered himself Canadian, he was gay, he sent money to many Filipino families, and he loved the Philippines. His age, former profession and exposure would explain his online demeanor. She was in awe.

Pretty soon, they started swapping life stories. He learned about her love for writing, she discovered about his foster son; he told her about his poor beginnings, she shared about her dreams; he confessed his concern for the Philippines, she owned up having authoritarian tendencies; he admired her mastery of the English language, she praised the athletic discipline ballet dancers possess… and so forth.

The messages they exchanged, whether long or short, interesting or trivial, personal or professional, got her through the day. She was thankful for the distraction at first, but eventually, she developed a real appreciation for this peculiar, interesting and bordering-the-eccentric man. Her admiration for him grew when she discovered that he held the title of a “Ballet Master”. He told her that himself, but she already knew it, thanks to her Google searching abilities.

She would respond to him no matter what her mood was, regardless of the battles she was waging. As a personal challenge, she set herself up to always reply with the same courtesy, richness in vocabulary, and coherence that caught his attention. She never told him so, but his correspondence provided her a peaceful oasis amidst the terrible sandstorms in her heart- choking her tears, clogging her chest, blinding her sight. At least when she wrote to him, she was forced to breathe right and dry her eyes so she could type correctly. It gave her a purpose for herself, she felt useful and appreciated. Lifted and encouraged. She never thanked him for that.

Because she was sinking deeper and deeper in her quicksand, she had to excuse herself from their exchanges. He, gentleman that he was, acknowledged how tough her situation must be, and sweetly bid her adieu.

That was the last time she heard of him.

That would also be the last time she would neglect the people in her life, no matter what issues she has.

To regret is to waste time. But to mourn the deceased, whether superstition or not, could help ease their final journey. So mourn, she will.

Farewell, Edward. Thank you.

*This article has been updated on January 1st. Edward was not octogenarian, as was previously written.


To the friend who left

Dear friend,

I was quite surprised with your slow, unnoticed retreat. Was it too sudden, or were you gone already? Perhaps I was too preoccupied with my own projects and woes, that I wasn’t able to perceive your need for company. Maybe I was the one who slipped away, not you. It’s also possible that both of us simply drifted apart at the same time.

Nevertheless, I didn’t write to keep tabs. Nor did I send this message to make you feel bad. I actually wanted to thank you: for sharing your time with me, for helping me when I needed it, for trusting me with your secrets, and for letting me give you advice when you felt lost. I learned a lot from you, I laughed a lot with you and I wouldn’t be the person I am now if not because of you.

I’m sorry if I did anything that made you change your mind about our friendship. I wish I could say I want to know if there’s anything I could do so we could be friends again. But the truth is, if I hadn’t even noticed you gone, then I guess this is the natural course of our relationship.

I wish you all the best in life.

To you, dear reader

Dear reader,

It’s been more than a year since I started this personal project that is blogging and I couldn’t be happier with how this has evolved. And because of this, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you for reading the thoughts I (struggle to) express in this site. I realize now how messy some of the articles are, yet you still come back for more. So…

Thank you for giving me another chance again and again and again. I’m currently learning how to improve my writing skills and I promise to put in every ounce of determination I have so I could at least give you a smooth reading experience.

Thank you for bearing with my out-of-this-world ideas. Don’t be shy, reader! proof of this is the fact that the top 3 most-read articles in 2017 are:

  1. Personal Interview
  2. Chomsky’s quote on Neoliberal Democracy- a reflection
  3. Featured Artist: Aisa Marie Corrales

… where the most normal article of them all is the interview.

Thank you for recommeding Colorfulifesite to your friends. I know you do. You don’t have to, but you do.

Thank you for coming back and reading some more! you inspire me to think new thoughts, to strike a balance between encouraging discussion and being true to myself, to be a better writer, to be an even more ambitious researcher and to be a critical observer.

Thank you for your kind words, your critique, your suggestions and your commendation.

Thank you to some of you who reestablished contact with me through this blog.

Thank you. THANK YOU!

And like last year, I would also like to show my appreciation by holding a mini-contest:

Share any of my articles in Facebook or LinkedIn, and if you show a proof of that “Share”, you’ll automatically enter a raffle. Last year two readers won and they both received a typical Spanish sweet treat (turrón). Who knows how many I’ll choose this year, and what I’ll send them?

It’s just a humble way to share my blessings.

Winners will be announced on January 2, 2018.




Four seasons of delight

We met in autumn

amidst falling leaves,

in between caught breaths,

on rain-soaked streets.

When winter came

with its heavy rains,

we braced ourselves

to face the day.

Without any notice,

we were welcoming spring.

It warmed our hearts.

We learned some songs,

we learned to dance.

We got ready for summer…

what a season to remember!


Once again,

leaves have fallen.

You learned to stomp

and make them crunch.

You make me

greet any season with glee.

-Karessa Ramos




“The purpose of studying economics is not to acquire a set of ready-made answers to economic questions, but to learn how to avoid being deceived by economists.”- Joan Robinson


Image courtesy of: http://www.eumed.net

A viable interpretation of Robinson’s quote is being able to filter what is BS and what is not BS. So many economists and wannabes would risk making a fool out of themselves just to defend their absurd agenda.

Absurd agenda 1: painting a pretty picture of pitiful politics


When Duterte was newly elected in the Philippines, there was a lot of frenzy over the very positive movements in the local stock market. Many people, especially his supporters, were ecstatic to hear this news. They didn’t waste any time sharing this all over social media. They really wanted to prove a point- that the change would bring economic prosperity.

Me and my colleagues, meanwhile, eyed all of that with suspicion. While none of us was dilligent enough to build a counter argument, we DID construct a sort-of guide to do so.

We started by pointing out that stock market indices are just that- indicators of that particular and specific market. It doesn’t say whether the gains would be reinvested, who would benefit from them… we can only be a little bit sure of who received them. What it does, is to simply say that a number of selected enterprises from different sectors are doing well in attracting investors from all around the world.

People can draw all types of conclusions they want, but the truth is, there is no evidence that stock market movements have affected development indicators* like poverty levels, enrollment rates, mortality rates, investment in infrastructure or quality of life. In our conclusions, we admitted that for the upper echelons of the society, the high indicators meant more sound and healthy economics for them, as they are stakeholders of that elite market.

As a side note, we observed something funny: most of this president’s supporters are comprised of poor to middle-class citizens with no ownership of any stock whatsoever. Yet, they were very celebratory of the rising stock market indices. Oh, the pathetic, deceived souls…


In an interview, Nicolas Maduro proudly announced that unlike in the 70’s, the current dictatorship in Venezuela does not have anything to do with the United States. He added that as a socialist country, the government is actually formed by Venezuelans. It has no contamination from evil capitalists, doesn’t risk being indebted to anybody… just hungry citizens, a huge black market of all sorts and human rights violations left and right, top to bottom, side by side, front and back.

Of course there are also the hordes of Venezuelans fleeing to Europe and the US (for those who were able to) with their assets and families, swearing never to return until democracy is fully reestablished. It’s creating, as we speak, a massive brain and investment drain in the country where talented and highly educated people escape for some pasture- which doesn’t have to be green as long as there’s something to graze on!

If not for the oil, every economic aspect of this deplorable country would be naught.

Absurd agenda 2: justifying the unjustifiable global inequality

Let me share a scene I witnessed in one of my college classes. I was seated with my then-best friend and this dialogue ocurred between her and a former Economic History professor:

Teacher: (noticing a book about Che Guevarra on our table) So, Ernesto Guevarra, huh?

Friend: Yes. It’s good to have varied sources of information.

T: Yes, sure. Whatever. But you do know that even if we free those Indonesian kids working in a Reebok factory, they won’t be cruising around Harvard in a Jaguar, right? You know they’d probably be worse off, right?

F: Sure, but we want them free NOT so they could cruise around in Jaguars or Bentleys. We want them freed so they could choose for themselves what they want to be and how they want to get there.

T: Oh, the youth! Anyway, class, today’s lesson…

My friend and I looked at each other and made faces. 

Economic prosperity, regardless of its magnitude, is inconceivable without the full exercise of basic human rights.

Absurd agenda 3: insistently promoting a lifestyle that really only benefits the few- and none of them is you

Think of the last thing you purchased, may it be a product or a service. Then, think how you could have continued to live your life without it. Try really hard. If you come to the conclusion that you could have gone through the day or the week without it, then you have just made the rich richer. And you, dear reader, are several monetary units poorer.

Now, the other side of the coin would allow us to analyze thus: look at the advertising material around. How many of the items proposed are truly vital for modern-day living? for me, the choices would include an insurance policy, the most competitively-priced natural gas package, the public safety reminders and maybe even adult diapers, among the few. The rest? very questionable.

We are forcefully being introduced to a kind of life whose prerequisite is for us to spend our time and energy to work a lot, earn a lot and buy a lot. To sacrifice our health and time with people we love and the things we like doing. It would seem as if society is pushing citizens to harvest the fruits of their efforts through spending and consuming.

This is not surprising. After all, private consumption has been the strongest driver of the OECD’s economies at one time or another. Taking this variable a notch higher could undoubtedly lift declining economic indices.

But just like what was mentioned in this article, it would be senseless to refuse or even condemn private consumption. It would however, be more fruitful to analyze our purpose for spending. This could help us exchange our hard-earned “moolah” on things that honestly make us happy, productive, humane, alive or whatever it is we want to feel, not what the ads or the influencers want us to feel…

If, at this point, your cost-benefit analysis comes out favorable, then I am happy for you. But if you’re in doubt, then I am also happy for that realization.

-The End-


*Please, please, please, PLEASE read this solid article from the fantastic Mahar Mangahas:  http://opinion.inquirer.net/55487/do-stock-prices-affect-the-poor


Questions people should ask the person they’re dating for the first time (a poem)

Author’s note: Guaranteed to make you stay single!


Just how big of a jerk are you?

Will you raise a hand on me?

Thinking I’m frail? and helpless?

How much of an asshole will you be?

When I outsmart you, would you

attack psychologically?

And when I retaliate,

would you call me crazy? then convince

the rest that I AM, actually?

What kind of an insecure person are you?

Will you belittle my triumphs?

Smirk on my ambitions?

How would you handle my success?

Are you someone dependable?

who wouldn’t be overpowered

when I am down? who won’t get upset

when I feel weak?

What WILL you do, when I DO feel weak?

Are you someone on whom I could lean? or

will you  throw me under the bus,

to end my ordeal?

What do you want, exactly?

And do you think you can handle me?


-Karessa Ramos