Inside the shrine of Chao Mae Thap Thim (pictured below) in Bangkok, a figurine of the sea goddess Mazu sits in the centre of a gold-framed altar of deities in a room festooned with lanterns and Chinese scriptures.
Construction has interfered with the shrine's drainage system, sometimes flooding it, and Penprapa fears the height of the surrounding fence means few people know it is still there.
"I feel very sad. They don't see the importance and value of this place that deserves to be preserved," she said of the university.
"They chose not to make the two worlds live together," she added. "They only want us to get out."
Left: Lee Kwang Tao looks at a Starbucks branch that recently opened next door to his shop. Right: Lee Kwang Tao poses at his shop.
Lee Kwang Tao, 62, who owns a Chinese medicine shop, also welcomed the prospect of modernisation.
"This area used to have very good business, but in recent years it has gone down," he said. "That's why people in this neighbourhood are selling their property."
Left: Sasine, 70, looks at new luxury condo buildings in front of the Chao Phraya river from the rooftop of her house where she has being living for 40 years in the historic neighbourhood Talad Noi. Right: A saleswoman looks through the window inside a luxury condo building next to the Chao Phraya river in Thon Buri.
Conservation advocates say the mixed-up identity that makes Bangkok so popular is being lost, and that the city must find solutions to carefully manage the changes.
"This is the speed that nobody can control, it is really unstoppable," said Niramon Serisakul, director of the Urban Designer and Development Center at Chulalongkorn University. "Sometime people forget about other important things, like how to preserve the heritage."
PHOTO EDITING MARIKA KOCHIASHVILI; WRITING Martin Petty; TEXT EDITING Gerry Doyle, Gareth Jones; Layout Julia Dalrymple