Jane Rai is a big believer in narratives through traveling. Having been a tour guide in Selangor for the better part of the last three decades, she is a veteran at crafting unique walking tours for her fellow travelers. For each tour, she has carefully researched the history behind the places chosen. To Jane, every town has a beginning, every structure has a story, and “the idea of doing walking tours is to have a look at things up close, and give that place some meaning.”
While researching about the history of Klang, her team read countless of history books. In order to get a better sense of their lifestyle and background, they also interviewed people from various ethnic groups that have rooted themselves in the town since its beginning. Jane has always believed that traveling is not just about crossing places off a list, but also uncovering the real stories behind the façade. Only a guide like Jane, equipped with her breadth of knowledge, can give a personal, human touch to travelers and bring them up close to these stories — stories you can’t find elsewhere, stories that make up the patchwork of a community, generation after generation.
Originally a native of KL, Jane’s connection to Klang is deeply rooted, dating back to her childhood years when her family often took her along to visit their relatives living in the town. Back then, it was much smaller and, though adjacent to a bustling trading port, had little traces of urban development seen in other places. “There were lots of villages, and everywhere I went I saw kampung houses,” she remarked. There have been many changes throughout the years, and while she continues to live in the capital, this former royal capital of Selangor still retains a certain rustic charm and a very rich blend of cultural influences that she would like to bring light to others.
Previously, some people have remarked to Jane that Klang is a dead, old town with no special qualities — a mere shadow of its former glory. Yet, it is precisely the clear ordinariness and the lack of pretension among the people that makes the town charming to her and continually draws her back to it. The Royal Klang Town Heritage Walk is her great act of skillfully weaving together the multiple narratives of the town — the history and culture, the people and places, the triumph and tragedy — and she does it with great depth and intense passion that will surely leave her audience in awe and wonder.