Checking-In: Listener Response

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Today we take a glimpse inside the complicated world of Shin Dong-hyuk as he continues to confront life outside the North Korean prison camp where he was born. From the price of freedom to his incredulity over Dennis Rodman's enthusiastic embrace of dictator Kim Jung Un, we hear from Shin Dong-hyuk. Plus we'll find out what you've had to say about elderly drivers and competition for kids. And, we hear about new research that says the number of people killed in the Holocaust is even higher than we had thought.



Our Executive Producer Jennifer Moroz joined Anna Maria in studio to check in on what you've had to say about the week on The Current.

Elderly Drivers: A safe driving task force in Sudbury, Ontario is creating waves among elderly drivers there. It is urging residents to report elderly drivers who are driving erratically. Last week, we discussed whether this is unfairly targeting seniors or is a proactive move to help families deal with a difficult issue. Our inbox overflowed with stories and opinions.

Barbara Kemeny of Thunder Bay, Ontario sent us this:

About half a year ago, I witnessed an older lady aimlessly pushing her shopping cart through the parking lot. I asked whether she needed help and sure enough, the sweet soul had no clue where her car was. We went up and down the aisles, periodically pushing the unlock button until we found the flashing lights of her car.
I did not want to insult this lovely lady by telling her that I questioned her competence to drive after what I just experienced with her. So off she drove.
But afterwards, I felt utterly irresponsible and troubled. If this happens again, I will take care of the person while I will call for help - maybe the police.


And Charles Zollner of Fredericton sent us this:

I'm 74. I nearly caused an accident in the summer of 2002 and I haven't touched the wheel since. Thirty dollars for a taxi for my monthly shopping trip, perhaps another thirty if I'm bored and head in town - it's a heck of a lot cheaper than any vehicle!

Here's another view from Glenn Treml of Jacques, Ontario:

To be forced to be tested every two years is stressful and heavy handed for the elderly to hold onto their independence.
Authorities need to deal with drivers as individuals rather than using lazy broad policies. Many seniors are better drivers than the young. Leave us alone.

And we had a couple more thoughts on our voicemail that we shared as well.

Obese Pets: On Tuesday we looked at the growing problem of obesity among house pets. And it seems we touched a nerve with pet owners across the country. We have received a flood of responses and we've posted audience reaction, photos of fat cats, videos and personal stories at the bottom of this post.

Scoreless Soccer: Yesterday we discussed the Ontario Soccer Association's decision, starting next year, to require all leagues for children under 12 to stop keeping score. And that got a lot of you tweeting:

Michelle Kofman tweeted: A hockey mom of 2 boys. Organized sport teaches kids how to win and more importantly how to lose. The life skills go beyond the physical skill.

And Hannah sent this tweet: Society & many organizations promote winning. "Playing" is different for children and should be the focus.

Shin Dong-hyuk: We want to bring you an update now on one of the most memorable interviews we've ever done on The Current. It was with Shin Dong-hyuk, a North Korean man who is believed to be the only person born into a North Korean prison camp who actually escaped. His story was chronicled in Blaine Harden's book Escape from Camp 14: One Man's Remarkable Odyssey From North Korea to Freedom in the West.

When we spoke with Shin Dong-hyuk last May, he told us some of the harrowing things he'd endured at Camp 14, where 200,000 prisoners still live to this day. He told us about back breaking-hard labour and watching the death of his own family members after he reported them to authorities for plotting to escape.

On Monday, Anna Maria had a chance to meet Shin Dong-hyuk in person, at an intimate gathering organized by HanVoice, a Canadian organization advocating for improved human rights in North Korea. Among other things, the group helps support North Korean refugees as they resettle in the Toronto Area. Shin made the stop on his way to Halifax where a group at Dalhousie University known as the Camp 14 Project, with a goal to create awareness about North Korea and its political prison camps.

Shin Dong-hyuk spoke to a packed room of about 40 people at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre about his experiences, and people attending had a chance to ask him questions. Afterwards, Anna Maria sat down with Shin and we shared part of their conversation through his translator, HanVoice's Jack Kim.

Holocaust Research: We have one more story we want to share with you.

"They had roll call, everybody out. They had to count to see how many escaped. I saw some guys ... they say Jewish people they didn't fight back ... I saw them rolling on top of the fences, they got shot yes, they were trying to get out. As he was counting, they were on the fences and then other people killed too and this is the lesson you learn, never try to escape again because that is what we will do to you. " - a clip is from a talk Holocaust survivor Henry Greenbaum gave at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum -- where the 84-year-old now volunteers.

Unfortunately, as we know, Henry's story is not unique. During World War II, concentration camps, labour sites and other Nazi-run ghettos scarred Europe's landscape. The atrocities are well documented. Or, at least we thought they were well-documented.

Thirteen years ago, a researcher named Geoffrey Megargee set out to catalogue these so-called "killing centres" with his colleagues at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. He's finally finished the count and the results are staggering. Geoffrey Megargee joined us from Washington, D.C.

To add your voice to anything you hear on The Current, tweet us @thecurrentcbc or find us on Facebook. You can e-mail us from our website where you can also download the podcast and check out lots of interesting background and photos about what we've been covering. Or call us toll-free, the number is 1 877 287 7366. Or send us a postcard. Box 500, Station A, Toronto, M5W 1E6.

This segment was produced by The Current's Vanessa Greco and Lara O'Brien.

Last Word - Stompin' Tom's Cornflakes

Last night Canada lost one of it's most celebrated musical icons. Country-folk singer Stompin' Tom Connors has died at the age of 77. Just a few days ago he wrote a final letter to his fans. It reads in part:

"Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin' Tom.
It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world. I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future."

Earlier in the program, Michael Moss -- the author of Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us -- gave us a good idea of how difficult it can be to avoid eating those three things... especially in the morning.

So today's last word goes to Stompin' Tom Connors performing Cornflakes... an ode to all the sugary goodness of breakfast cereal.



Other segments from today's show:

The future of Venezuela's oil industry and what it means for Alberta's oil patch

Why salt, sugar and fat are the pillars of the processed food industry



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