jiāng shān yì gǎi，běn xìng nán yí
江 refers to river, 山 refers to mountain. So “江山易改” literally meant we can easily change or influence the course of river and remove the mountain.
本性 refers to a person’s innate character. He is born with such a character or attributes.
“本性难移” which is the second part of the timeless Chinese idiom or proverb literally meant no matter how you just cannot or not easy to “shift or remove” that person’s character.
Note that the “shift or remove” is used on a person’s character whereas “change or influence” is used on the physical magnitude of a river or mountain. It beautifully conveys the impact of a person’s character that is even heavier and enormous than the mighty river and huge mountain.
In other words, you can easily change or influence the river or mountain but not easily remove or shift a person’s character.
It is never easy to change one’s character !
The above Chinese idiom or proverb is proven and tested throughout the ages in ancient Chinese history. It still holds true today.
The equivalent English version should be “The leopard will never change its spots!”
Will the PAP change? Could they?
Read here to decide for yourself.
Read this story also.
Read yet another story here! Actually there are lots of such story in the cyber world!