..only the most dedicated living off the grid can escape their view
At this stage of the game, the best bet for anyone wishing to be left the hell alone is the 'hide in plain sight' tactic: Leave enough of a digital footprint and paper-trail to appear ordinary, and this be left alone. At least for now, that'll work and will keep you safe, because they (governments, corporations) still don't have the processing capacity to bring the signal-to-noise ratio up to the point where they'd even see the patterns in that well enough to realize you are using surveillance countermeasures like that, and focus on you specifically. I still hold out the hope that this situation can be turned around before it reaches the point that everyone is always under the high-resolution microscope like that though.
You must be young.
You sound like someone who was raised in this surveillance culture we're now living in, and as such have been so thoroughly indoctrinated by the societal, corporate, and government propaganda and conditioning, that you actually believe that 'privacy' is something only sought after by criminals and the mentally ill. Either that or you just don't understand that we're being surveilled constantly, with plans to surveil us even more than we already are.
In Singapore, however, due to the "Father Knows Best" government which has taken care of almost everything for its citizens, many Singaporeans (I mean, the home bred Singaporeans, not those imported ones) have turned into something not very different from zombies --- they lack the zeal for doing anything, have no interest in learning nor put any effort in coming out with anything that is creative
I'm not at all surprised. That's about how people act when they're living in oppressive conditions, knowing that it's not a matter of 'if', but of 'when' they slip up, say or do something the government considers 'undesirable', and they're scooped up and hauled away to some form of incarceration or other, their lives (and maybe their families' lives, too?) ruined. As I said in my own comment: You can't legislate and mandate morality.
"It's hard to know whether the low crime rates and adherence to the rule of law are more a result of pervasive surveillance or Singaporeans' unspoken agreement that they mustn't turn on one another, lest the tiny island come apart at the seams."
If your every move is being watched by a government that can and will scoop you up and destroy your life for so much as saying something they don't like ('undesirable content' indeed!) then it's completely and totally moot whether or not people 'behave', because you're inhibiting their true nature via threats to their existence. At best you're driving criminal elements of all different stripes deeper underground, not stamping them out. Something as trivial and relatively innocuous as filesharing, or actually speaking your mind (when it's not a 'popular', or perhaps in this context, a 'state approve' viewpoint)? They just learn to hide better. In my opinion, it's about as valid as Victorian morals or the Puritans, who also were just better at hiding their dirty laundry and base desires for sake of appearances. You can't legislate and mandate morality.