My adopted home is my adopted laws.Alright, I think you need to consider that this naive idea is at the very nub of your problem.
You seem to think that even though you are in an undemocratic country that you will be able to avoid any issues if you manage to stay out of trouble and respect the local laws of that place; that the only people who actually get sent to jail/persecuted in places such as Singapore or Dubai are the ones who intentionally set out to make trouble. The problem is that it doesn't occur to you that you don't have to set out to rock the boat in order to land yourself on the foul side of authority.
You could find yourself the wrong side of a corrupt cop, get set up by an enemy, in a clash with someone influential or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or your family could do something wrong that's beyond your control - like the family of the 16 year old kiddie in Singapore who got sent to jail for a month not long ago for posting a hand-drawn picture of Lee Kwan Yew have sex with Margaret Thatcher. His case went all the way to the Singapore High Court and yes, they upheld the sentence. Yes, the Singapore government are really that paranoid and pathetic - and they send children to jail for things like that and they do it all the time, not just to make examples of random miscreants spray painting buildings or littering.
So much as you might think that those kinds of countries are hunky dory as long as you keep your nose clean, don't always bet on being on the right side of these people despite your best intentions... and if you do end up in trouble their idea of justice is a long, long way from our own.
No, I know the longer I live here the more likely I will have a run in with the law through an oversight. I also know that as a guest in any country it is up to ME to confirm the laws of land and how they vary from Australia. Smarttraveller is a good starting place. The reason people travel is to experience a different culture. If you want the same as your own backyard, go to Whyalla.
Australian media, usually ACA or TT are very good at finding one basket (usually after money) case example, often with half the facts missing and blaming the "countries draconian laws". Get behind the story and you find its not as it seems. ever thought Foreign nationals travelling to Australia are not having the same issue???? No, don't answer because I know you didn't even think of it.
Yes, Singapore, the UAE and every country in the world has different laws to Australia, Surprise! Rule of thumb, when in doubt ask, if still in doubt don't go.
Now, go to Rugby 7's in Australia.
What is the alcohol available, plastic cups, mid strength, 2 at a time limit. Would there be a fight, likely!
Go to Rugby 7;s in Dubai,
What is the alcohole, anything you want, nothing with low alcohol, no plastic cups and no one is counting what you drink.
Is there a fight, not a chance in hell. If you bump into someone. They are more likely to introduce themselves. If you bump someones drink, your probably drinking buddies by end of night.
Is there any place in Sinapore or Dubai/UAE where at night is a no go zone. Nope! What about Australia????
The 16 year old kid broke the law, under Singapore law the juveniles parents are legally accountable. I don't have an issue with this. And yes the 16 year old should also be held accountable. its normal for foreign nationals to be held in prison/lockup once an offence is committed to make sure they don't flee the country. Honestly again, really have a good look at what Aussie law does to foreign nationals compared to Australians.
Dubai and Singapore is full of foreigners, in Dubai its 85% expat, all on the equivalent of 457 visas. Yes the average Aussie would turn over in their grave at hearing this. Despite their different laws to Aus, most manage to live and thrive here without run ins to the law. In return, the place is ultra safe etc etc.
Residents of the rust belt suburbs unlikely to understand as most won't travel more than 30min from home to find a job. Working OS requires a very different mindset from the bubble wrap society.