A leopard cannot change its spots | jy.catholic.org.hk

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A leopard cannot change its spots

刊登日期: 2017.01.14
作者: Grace Tse  

Today is the beginning of the third week of 2017. We might have made our own New Year resolution aiming to change our bad habits or behavior. Some of us might want to be less impatient, less grumpy, or less selfish. So far, what have you done to achieve your aim? When a person fails to change his or her bad habits, people may say, 

This is part of human nature just as a leopard cannot change its spots

The proverb “a leopard cannot change its spots” comes from the Book of Jeremiah(《耶肋米亞先知書》)in the Old Testament(《舊約》)of the Bible : 

Can the Ethiopian change his skin? The leopard his spots? 

Speaking to the people of the Kingdom of Judah (猶大王國), the Prophet Jeremiah used two examples from nature to talk about whether evil people could change and become good: Can a black Ethiopian man change his natural skin colour? Can a leopard change its spots? 

Nowadays, when we describe someone who cannot change their character, no matter how hard they try, we will use this proverb in slightly different forms : 

John promised that he would not be late anymore, but I don’t trust him. A leopard cannot change its spots(本性難移)

Do you believe that they will become more friendly? I don’t because leopards cannot change their spots. 

Even though scientists have shown that the genetic factor is behind the fixed pattern formation on the skins of leopards, we human beings should be able to change our bad traits with fortitude and firmness


Glossary

Grumpy 脾氣暴躁 
Leopard 豹 
Spots 斑點
Character 性格
Genetic 基因的
Traits 特性 
Fortitude 剛毅 
Firmness 堅定 

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