I've written several times previously about the nature of democracy in Singapore. Generally, this topic comes up when I visit the city-state since that is when I can get an in-person taste for what democratic freedom amounts to there.
The Economist has published a pretty spot-on account how things work there. I encourage you all to read it since it's short and it'll give you an idea of what I mean by a democratically elected benevolent dictatorship.
Just to recap, I think Singapore's ruling party, the People's Action party (PAP) has done a great job at ensuring the the country continues to move forward. Additionally, they continue to find a way to toe the line between control of everything and the resulting grumbling from folks who dislike the lack of American style freedoms.
In practice, I think most of SGP's population could care less about freedoms as long as they are able to live a comfortable life in relatively efficient world. The PAP has realized this (or more correctly, created this attitude) and caters to it on a daily basis. In the end, I think most people operate in that fashion whether it's in SGP or in the USA.